Dec 17, 2018 - National Geographic Islander
Today we woke up on the northern side of Española Island, also known as Hood Island for our first full day of the expedition. We kayaked before breakfast and after, had a wet landing on Gardner, a white sandy beach where, due to their lack of fear, sea lions and mockingbirds greeted us with a relaxed attitude.
Española is the oldest of the Galápagos Islands and sits isolated by the currents in the southeast of the Archipelago. Española Island has the highest rate of endemism in the Galápagos, and it may be the highest in the world. Ninety percent of species found here are endemic to the Galápagos, while the normal rate of endemism is about five percent. After our visit, we snorkeled near Gardner Island.
In the afternoon, we had a dry landing at Punta Suarez, the only place where you can see waved albatross birds on land. This is one of the most challenging hikes as it involves walking on boulders for about two hours. We saw finches, doves, lava lizards, hawks, boobies, marine iguanas and a blowhole. This visit was fantastic, and it sets the tone for what is to come. What a day!
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