Isabela and Fernandina islands

Dec 11, 2018 - National Geographic Islander

With the ship still moving, we started our day with early cetacean watching. A small group of common dolphins showed up and for most of the trip, we enjoy the landscape and some seabirds along with the traditional crossing of the Equator line. Anchored at Punta Vicente Roca on Isabela, our first outing started with a Zodiac ride to admire the imposing geology and the various animals that live here. We found flightless cormorants, Galapagos penguins, large marine iguanas, and a good number of Pacific green turtles which feed and rest in this area.

Later, we set out for some snorkeling and encountered an amazing variety of life from small invertebrates on the submarine walls to large schools of fish of all kinds. Turtles were at their cleaning stations, getting a full service from different fish like king angelfish and grunts.

Sea lions swam up to you and iguanas were on their way to and from feeding. One could also observe penguins catching almost invisible fish and more! It’s just amazing that all this happens only inches from our faces. Indescribable.

In the afternoon we enjoyed one of the incredible pristine islands of the Galapagos, Fernandina. Walking for less than half a mile we saw large iguana colonies, sea lion pups playing among themselves, and birds resting or hunting. All of it framed by the most savage landscape with fresh lava and plants initiating colonization.

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About the Author

Patricio Maldonado

Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

Patricio, better known as Pato amongst his friends, was born in the Galápagos Island. His family moved to the islands from the mainland and settled on the island of Santa Cruz over thirty-five years ago. Pato had an enchanted childhood in the islands, where his keen interest in the wildlife of the Galápagos was born initially through catching lizards and observing how they lost their tails. His experiences in the islands have led him to teach visitors about the need to protect this rare and unique environment.

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