Isabela and Fernandina

Aug 07, 2018 - National Geographic Islander

Today we had one of the most exciting days of our expedition. We travelled to the western part of the Galapagos islands. The western islands are younger and geologically active. This part of the archipelago is also very rich due to the influence of the equatorial undercurrent that brings cold nutrient rich waters.

Early in the morning before breakfast we spotted a whale, probably a Bryde’s or a blue whale. Later that morning we crossed the Equator and had a special ceremony to celebrate it. Later, we took a Zodiac ride around Ecuador Volcano, one of the six volcanos that emerged independently to form the largest island of the Galapagos - Isabela. Later, we snorkeled around Punta Vicente Roca. The conditions were ideal, and visibility was perfect to spot dozens of green sea turtles, flightless cormorants, Galapagos penguins, sea lions, fur seals and many species of fish.

In the afternoon, we sailed to Fernandina Island, the youngest and most pristine island of the Galapagos archipelago. There, we saw dozens of flightless cormorants nesting, and marine iguanas basking and feeding on marine algae.

We continued onward and sailed for nearly three hours to witness a unique event on Sierra Negra. This active volcano on Isabela Island has been erupting for almost two months! This was a perfect way to finish this wonderful day of discovery.

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About the Author

Luis Vinueza


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. 

About the Photographer

Walter Perez

Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

Walter was born in a very small town on the mainland of Ecuador. His first trip to the Galápagos was when he was 12 years old, visiting friends and aunt, who had moved to the islands. From the first moment he saw the Islands, he fell in love with them and knew then where his future home would be.

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