Sep 10, 2017 - National Geographic Endeavour II
Today’s expedition took place on the oldest island of the Galapagos Archipelago, Espanola Island. Espanola Island is about 3.5 million years old and it is incredible to think and realize that the first plant and animal colonizers arrived to this island. Our expedition in Espanola Island started in the water with a beach snorkeling from Gardner Bay beach and a deep water snorkeling for more experienced snorkelers. In the water playful juvenile sea lions, who followed us along our snorkeling playing with our bubbles and fins, welcomed us. After snorkeling, we rested on beautiful Gardner Bay beach, a white flawless sand beach where a big colony of sea lions rest and nurse their young. As we arrived to the beach, curious Espanola mockingbirds saluted us sitting on our hats and backpacks and Espanola lava lizards walked along the rocks marking their territories and displaying mating behaviors.
In the afternoon, we disembarked in Punta Suarez greeted by colorful marine iguanas. Marine iguanas in Espanola Island are among the biggest and most colorful in the Archipelago, with bright red and green colors that beautifully contrast with their dark black bodies. As we walked along the trail, we left marine iguana and sea lion territory just to enter a new and undiscovered territory by our guests, the waved albatross nesting area. Albatrosses have the largest wingspan of all sea birds, seeing them flight is a breathtaking experience as they glide effortless through the sky. Of all the places in the world waved albatross nest only in Espanola island, during this time of the year eggs have hatched and chicks are growing fast, weighting about 2kg, this is more than their parents. In December when they have acquired all their adult feathers, they will be ready to fly for their very first time. They will walk to the south part of Espanola Island and take off from 30 meters cliffs only to come back 5 years later when they are ready to mate.
As we kept walking along the trail, we observed a beautiful Galapagos hawk with two fluffy chicks and various blue-footed and Nazca boobies courting and feeding. Our expedition today ended with a beautiful sunset falling on Espanola Island. Every day is a beautiful overwhelming experience in the Galapagos Islands as there is wildlife and incredible landscapes everywhere you look.