Isabela and Fernandina Islands

Jan 08, 2019 - National Geographic Islander


This morning dawned humid, cloudy and breezy and we had excellent conditions to search for and watch marine creatures. We were navigating along the northern coast of the sea horse shaped island of Isabela and soon after sunrise, we found several pods of common dolphins! Our first officer Patricio turned National Geographic Islander and followed them as they leapt and splashed on the mirror-calm surface of the ocean. We also spotted fur seals coming in from feeding, flying fish, and several big mobula rays. Flocks of sea birds, mostly noddy terns, shear waters, and storm petrels were feeding, too, reminding us how productive the upwelling currents are in this realm of the Galapagos.

After breakfast and crossing the Equator, Captain Carlos anchored the ship and we went out in the Zodiacs to cruise along below the dramatic cliffs of Volcan Ecuador. The coast was alive with cormorants and penguins, sea turtles and marine iguanas, pelicans, blue-footed boobies and sea lions! Next, most of the guests donned their wetsuits and braved the chilly but clear water to snorkel among the cormorants, penguins, dozens of sea turtles, and a few curious sea lions. A white tipped shark that swam below us was hassled by a playful sea lion who repeatedly grabbed his tail! Some of us saw marine iguanas grazing underwater and others watched as they swam past them, heading to shore.

In the afternoon, we disembarked on Punta Espinoza, Fernandina Island, for a fabulous walk. There were hundreds of marine iguanas resting on shore and the males have begun to set up territories to attract mates; some of the males were fighting! We saw a juvenile hawk, many sea lions – one very friendly one! – and returned to enjoy the sunset from the sky deck bar.

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About the Author

Lynn Fowler

Expedition Leader

Born in Baltimore, Maryland, and one of seven children, Lynn grew up in various university towns where her father was a professor of physics. Lynn obtained her B.A. in biology from Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana, followed by a master’s degree in zoology from the University of Florida, which encompassed a study of marine turtles in Costa Rica. She arrived in Galápagos in 1978 and became one of the first female naturalist guides working for the Galápagos National Park.

About the Photographer

José Guerrero

Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

José Guerrero Vela is an Ecuadorian permanent resident of the Galapagos. His mother was born in the islands and his grandfather was one of the first generation of teachers in the Galapagos, which has always inspired him to promote education as the main path to protect the archipelago.

About the Videographer

Julio Rodriguez

Video Chronicler

Born and raised in Ecuador, the son of Spanish and American parents, Julio developed a passion for storytelling and environmental conservation at an early age. After majoring in History at Carleton College (Minnesota), with a thesis on the Basque anti-Franco movement, he taught English in Spain and made short promotional films for an energy efficiency company in India and two environmental conservation NGOs in Greece and Galapagos. 

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