What a wonderful feeling it is to wake up to some magnificent landscapes of shield volcanos leaning over calm seas. We have traveled all night and have reached the western islands of the Galapagos, the most remote and pristine of all. We were accompanied for a short while by a pod of common dolphins, some of which jumped, displaying fantastic acrobatics. Soon we dropped anchor at Punta Espinosa, north of Fernandina. This is the youngest island of the archipelago, and once we set foot ashore we realized how hostile this environment is. There are black basaltic flows all over the place and little vegetation. However, several species have managed to colonize this area, and particularly the marine iguanas seem to do really well here. All along the trail we found dozens of them, if not hundreds, basking in the sun. As their bodies warmed up, many of them started making their way into the ocean to look for the algae that they feed on. A small colony of flightless cormorants also live in this area, a unique species that has traded its ability to fly to become even better divers. Some Galapagos sea lions rested on the sand or played in the tidal pools, and a couple of Galapagos hawks witnessed the whole scenario while perching at the top of some mangrove trees. Punta Espinosa certainly feels like a place out of this world, rather timeless.
By midday we were already navigating northbound towards Punta Vicente Roca, on Isabela Island.
Apr 21, 2014
National Geographic Endeavour