Fernandina & Isabela

Nov 12, 2018 - National Geographic Endeavour II


Today we sailed to the western part of the archipelago, Fernandina and Isabela. The newest islands are strongly influenced by the Cromwell Undercurrent that brings cold, nutrient-rich waters, and are volcanically pretty active, with recent volcanic eruptions in 2017 and 2018. This morning we witnessed smoke coming out of Volcano las Cumbres on Fernandina Island.

Due to the productive waters of the west, we also observed large aggregations of marine iguanas and sea turtles that feed on marine algae. We also saw flightless cormorants, one of the unique species that inhabit this region, one of which came on board one of our inflatables Zodiacs—it was quite a moment! Male marine iguanas are starting to show their mating behavior—they will establish territories and will fight other males that dare to trespass.

Later during the day, we enjoyed excellent snorkeling conditions to explored the marine world.  We saw many sea turtles, flightless cormorants and marine iguanas feeding underwater. The temperature was very pleasant, 69 degrees Fahrenheit. In the afternoon we visited Punta Vicente Roca, a collapsed caldera of Ecuador Volcano, and one of the six volcanos that form Isabela.

After a full and exciting day of exploration and discovery, we enjoyed a celebration with our guests on the top deck of National Geographic Endeavour II as we crossed the equator. 

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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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