From the National Geographic Endeavour in Galapagos
Jan 15, 2013 - National Geographic Endeavour
We continued our expedition by visiting the central part of Isabela, arriving in a place known as Urbina Bay. After a wet landing, we hiked along a very interesting area that was uplifted in 1954. Many giant tortoises were seen under the shade of the Galapagos cotton plants and the poison apple tree. We also spotted land iguanas next to their burrows where their eggs had been laid. Singing birds like mocking birds and fiches accompanied our way through the incense tree forest, while the Galapagos Hawk was patrolling the territory from the sky, in search of prey. Isabela is the largest of all the islands, therefore wildlife here is plenty. The most fascinating part was the fact that the land under our feet used to be the ocean floor before the uplifting happened, and now this area has been turned into the habitat of giant reptiles and many birds. After the hike some of us had the chance to do a mega swim back to the ship from the beach.
During the afternoon the ship repositioned to Tagus Cove, this time a bit further to the North but still on the same island. Snorkeling was amazing along the tuff walls covered with algae and sea turtles eating it, many tropical fish, some penguins in and out of the water and flightless Cormorants. We also had the opportunity to kayak and Zodiac ride along this calm bay, a perfect time for photography. There were many penguins on the rocks, sea turtles mating on the surface of the ocean, beautiful light against the animals and plenty of natural history to learn from. Later in the afternoon we hiked along Darwin Lake to enjoy some great landscape from the top of the hills of Isabela.
It could not have been a better day, as after we finished with the hike and went back on the Zodiac, two humpback whales showed up and one of them came very close to our Zodiac!