Punta Vicente Roca and Fernandina island
It is the first day of this New Year, 2013. What an honor to me to make the first daily expedition report of the year on board of the National Geographic Islander. Last night we celebrated New Year’s Eve on board, and this morning all our travelers are very happy to start our day, and we did it in spectacular fashion when at about 6:45 am a big school of common dolphins surfaced just off the coast of Isabela, which is the island where I was born and the largest and one of the most beautiful in the archipelago.
After that great event, our captain announced the crossing of the Equator. We organized a nice ceremony at the bow of our boat, where we offered our guests certificates that prove they have been here, in the middle of the world.
Our breakfast was nutritious as always, and after arriving to Punta Vicente Roca, we went on a Zodiac ride along the coast. It has a very impressive cliff at the foot of Ecuador Volcano, one of the six volcanos that form Isabela. Here is a great place for a Galápagos geology interpretation; many volcanic formations are seen, such as secondary volcanos, cinder cones, tuff formations and some lapilli, which are bigger particles of pyroclastic materials thrown by volcanos during an eruption.
Along the shore a unique marine life is found: Galápagos penguins, flightless cormorants, sun fish, rays, and marine turtles. On the rocks are found some blue-footed boobies, nazca boobies, pelicans, and brown noddies. This is a great way to start 2013!
Then, we prepared our snorkeling gear and jumped to the cold water, but nobody paid attention to the temperature of the water, because our goal is to snorkel with the turtles that live here, and we found so many. It is a unique experience to have these reptiles swimming so close, they ignored us and we enjoyed the closeness. Cormorants and sea lions were the frosting on the cake. Our travelers could not believe they were having such an amazing experience. We hope it will change their lives and reinforce the importance of conserving places like Galápagos.
Our chef prepared a Peruvian lunch, and we rested a couple hours before sailing to Fernandina Island, considered the most active volcano in this area as well as one of the most pristine and the youngest of the seven main islands forming Galápagos.
We went for a walk. The first impression the moment you set foot here is of the thousands of marine iguanas that live here. You find them basking on the rocks, fighting for territory, or just eating algae on the rocks. Sea lions were a magnificent complement and the red crabs decorated the amazing scenery.
Our walk was fascinating, we enjoyed every single minute. My highlight was the moment when a Sally Lightfoot crab walked toward my foot, climbed on me knee and then came down and walked through my legs. It acted like a pet or like a very old friend; in 20 years guiding in Galápagos, it is the first time a crab walked on me for about two minutes and left me astonished.
The sun moves very fast here on the Equator and it is time to go back on board. At sunset, I observe everyone around me, and what I see is happy faces, I hear great comments about our day, stories about what they have seen, what they have experience. I feel happy too and accomplished. Our mission is to provide our travelers unique experiences that they will remember for the rest of their lives.