Fernandina and Isabela Islands

Sep 04, 2017 - National Geographic Endeavour II


Monday 4th September, bright and warm, was a day like no other. We had navigated all night to reach Fernandina and Isabela, the most remote islands of the Galápagos Archipelago. We landed at Fernandina’s northeastern tip, Punta Espinosa, for our morning expedition. Thanks to its highly productive waters, this small peninsula has a large marine iguana population. There were beautiful textures of pahoehoe lavas everywhere, evidence of the volcanism that created this archipelago. Galápagos sea lion pups played in the nearby tidal pools; and a small colony of endemic flightless cormorants fascinated us. Back on board, we spotted a pod of killer whales or orcas; and later in the morning, we snorkeled off Punta Espinosa, amid a number of Pacific green sea turtles. Everything was calm and normal during lunch, until—a volcanic eruption at “La Cumbre,” the summit of Fernandina—the first eruption there since 2009. And there we were, at the right time and place! A tall plume of vapor and ash rose high, a magnificent view against a blue and cloudless sky. In the afternoon, we explored Punta Vicente Roca, located in the outside rim of the Ecuador volcano on northern Isabela.  This stunning coastline is the home to flightless cormorant, Despite the surrounding beauty— brown noddies, blue footed and Nazca boobies, and soulful Galápagos fur seal—our eyes were glued on the distant activity at the Fernandina volcano. At sunset, everyone gathered on the deck for a wine tasting, and the most amazing show nature offers—an erupting volcano. As the night deepened, the spectacle became more dramatic, with red-hot lava flowing down the slopes of Fernandina. Unbelievable! We were truly privileged to be in a perfect place at a perfect moment: Galápagos at its surprising best!

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About the Author

Gaby Bohorquez

Naturalist

Gaby was born and raised in Guayaquil, Ecuador. Her first job in the Galapagos was on board a 90-passenger cruise ship as the cruise director’s assistant, and she fell under the spell of the Enchanted Isles. She returned to Guayaquil to study at the Espiritu Santo Technological University to obtain a degree in Tourism Management. Her fascination for the islands was still strong so, after finishing her studies, Gaby took the opportunity to join the Naturalist Guide’s course, jointly organized by the Galapagos National Park Service and the Charles Darwin Research Station. That was back in 1992, and she has been a naturalist since, keeping her deep love and passion for the islands during all these years.

About the Videographer

Eric Wehrmeister

Video Chronicler

Eric began his life on the far western edge of Chicago, where the concrete meets the cornfields.  His inspiration has always drawn from the expansive beauty of the natural world, as well as the endless forms that populate it.

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