Isabela & Fernandina

Apr 17, 2018 - National Geographic Islander


This morning National Geographic Islander crossed the equator as we sailed to Punta Vicente Roca. The western part of the archipelago is colder than the central part that we visited yesterday. Our first outing took us around volcano Ecuador, one of the six volcanoes that are part of the largest island of the Galapagos, Isabela. 

Colder, nutrient-rich waters bring nutrients that fuel primary productivity. Marine algae is very abundant, and this supports a higher biomass of marine herbivores and carnivores. We saw dozens of sea turtles underwater feeding on algae as well as a few penguins and flightless cormorants and many different types of fish. Many of the species we saw are unique to this part of the archipelago, including the sunfish and the harlequin wrasse. 

In the afternoon, we visited Punta Espinosa. Many marine iguanas were resting on land at high tide. We also observed a few flightless cormorants drying their modified wings. We also saw lava cactuses forming, extending patches on top of lava fields. We went back to the ship at sunset and this was the best way to end a wonderful day of exploration.

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About the Author

Luis Vinueza

Naturalist

Luis arrived in the Galápagos Islands for the first time when he was 11 years old in 1983, and from that time on he knew that Galápagos would one day be his home. He returned to the islands in 1995 and spent 14 months camping in a tent. Seven of those months were spent on Española Island, studying the relationship of reproductive success and mate retention of Nazca boobies. In 1997, he started working for the marine lab at the Charles Darwin Research Station (CDRS) on different fields including diving surveys to assess the patterns of marine biodiversity around the Galápagos Marine Reserve. His research included counting lobsters and sea cucumbers and participating as an advisor for CDRS during the negotiation process that led to the 1998 creation of the Galápagos Marine Reserve. 

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