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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