Española: Gardner Bay & Punta Suárez

Dec 03, 2018 - National Geographic Islander


Today we reached the oldest island of the Archipelago, Española. Like San Cristobal, it also harbors a unique set of species that are endemic to Española. This includes the Española mockingbird, the Española lava lizard, and the Christmas iguana; a subspecies of marine iguana that is unique to Española. We also saw waved albatrosses and their chicks.

In the morning, we snorkeled and sailed on our Zodiacs around Gardner Islet. There, we found playful sea lions, schools of tropical fish, as well as many colorful marine invertebrates. At the same time, other groups kayaked around Española Island.  Later, we visited a beautiful sandy beach.

In the afternoon we visited Punta Suarez, a paradise for seabirds.  We observed waved albatrosses gliding as well as Nazca boobies, a giant tortoise from Española, a family of Galapagos hawks and many colorful marine iguanas. 

Española never ceases to amaze me, it is a paradise for the observation of wildlife, particularly of seabirds. This island has a special place in my heart.  

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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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