Nov 28, 2017 - National Geographic Islander
We awoke early and those who stayed on deck right up until breakfast was announced saw a Bryde’s whale! We crossed the equatoras as we rounded the northern end of the sea horse shaped island of Isabela, and then took to the Zodiacs for an hour of exploration along the coast. We saw our first flightless cormorants and penguins. Later, three Zodiacs full of eager snorkelers braved the chilly, but clear water and what an amazing experience we had! Where else on our planet can one swim and snorkel with two species of flightless birds (we swam with both cormorants and penguins!), over a hundred sea turtles, playful sea lions, a manta ray, and a dozen species of colorful fish - in a one hour outing!?
The afternoon hike on the pahoehoe lava fields of the youngest of these islands, Fernandina, was just as impressive. There were hordes of marine iguanas, baby sea lions, cormorants, a scorpion, and a racer snake – literally an explosion of life on what, from a distance, looked like barren lava. The sun set in a blaze of oranges and pinks behind the massive shield volcano and darkness descended quickly, as it does here on the equator.
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