Gardner Bay and Punta Suarez

Dec 31, 2018 - National Geographic Islander

Today is the last day of the year, and we woke up in the northern side of Española Island for our first full day of the expedition. We kayaked before breakfast, and it was fantastic! We saw sea lion pups playing close to us, a couple of sea turtles, and blue-footed boobies. After breakfast, we had a wet landing on a white sandy beach called Gardner and were greeted by sea lions and mockingbirds. Their lack of human fear gives them a playful and relaxed attitude. Other groups went deep-water snorkeling and had the opportunity to play with sea lions for at least half an hour.

Española is the oldest of the Galápagos Islands and is isolated by the currents in the southeast of the Archipelago. Española Island has the highest rate of endemism in the Galapagos, and probably in the world. Ninety percent of species found on the island are endemic, while the normal rate of endemism is about five percent.

In the afternoon we explored 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 mood for what is to come in this wonderful place. A great day indeed!


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About the Author

Lenin Villacis


Lenin was born in the capital city of Quito, where he grew up surrounded by the mountains and volcanoes of the Andean region of Ecuador. At age 17, he received a scholarship to study in Mexico, and a few years later traveled to the U.S. and finished college with a degree in Earth sciences. In 1994 he returned to Ecuador to undergo a training course to become a naturalist guide for his incredibly rich and biodiverse home country, and started working in the Amazon rain forest of Ecuador.

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