Lindblad Expeditions - From the National Geographic Endeavour in the Galapagos - Jeffo Marquez, naturalist

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From the National Geographic Endeavour in the Galapagos

Dec 4, 2012 - National Geographic Endeavour

Land iguana close up
Sally Lightfoot crab

Urbina Bay and Tagus Cove

The Galápagos Islands are a sanctuary for many animal species, and today we had a perception of that as we visited west Isabela Island. The first adventure of the day was at Urbina Bay by Alcedo volcano, and a wet landing was the perfect way to begin our journey. The marine iguanas were our first sighting. They displayed impressively large body sizes as they feed on the algae found in the up dwelling area of the Galápagos.

Farther along the trail, coral heads were spotted several meters inland as a consequence of an older uplifting process. The first land iguana of the morning appeared as we explored the inner coast line. The brilliance of the place was shown in a symphony of land bird songs, vegetation colors, and reptile displays. At the end of the hike, we had a pleasurable time as we swam at the beach before returning to the National Geographic Endeavour. Once everything was ready, we pulled anchor in order to move to our next destination: Tagus Cove.

Previously home to whalers and a refuge for pirates, Tagus cove is one of the most historical places in the entire archipelago. Our first adventure was deep water snorkeling along the cliffs of an old tuff cone. As we went into the water, the marvels of the ocean were revealed to us. Reef fishes of multiple colors surrounded us as if inside a natural fish tank. Green sea turtles looked gentle as they rested at the bottom, but the most impressive show was given by the Galápagos penguins as we swam into a feeding frenzy.

The exploration was completed by going on a hike all the way up Darwin Lake. The splendor of the natural land was witnessed as we arrived at the area. Young male sea lions were all over the place. Farther up the steps, we enjoyed a spectacular view of Darwin Lake with Darwin Volcano as decoration in the background. Dry zone vegetation, and land birds flying were part of the attractions of the hike. At the end of the trail, we had a marvelous view of the northern volcanoes as the sun set behind the dominant figure of Fernandina Island. The marvels of the Galápagos Islands could captive any explorer that witnesses its wonders.