Isabela Island, Punta Moreno and Elizabeth Bay

Jan 20, 2019 - National Geographic Endeavour II

Today was a day of exploration for all onboard the National Geographic Endeavour II, at Isabela Island. Due to several species eradication projects on both North Seymour and Rabida Islands, the National Geographic Endeavour II deviated from its traditional route and visited two visitor sites that were new to our expedition itinerary: Elizabeth Bay and Punta Moreno. In the morning, guests went on a Zodiac cruise in Elizabeth Bay, where they were greeted by a large group of active Galapagos penguins. We also observed the yellow morphotype of the Pacific green sea turtle, a rare sighting in Galapagos. We also observed great blue herons, Galapagos sea lions, and brown pelicans. There is a great deal of biodiversity that the mangrove ecosystem supports.

In the afternoon, guests explored the marine realm of Punta Moreno.  Even with low visibility, we observed an enormous amount of Pacific green sea turtles at the snorkel site. There were up to nine green sea turtles feeding in a single group at a given time. The Cromwell subsurface current that collides with the western facing side of the Galapagos archipelago make for cold, nutrient-rich waters and prime habitat for the green sea turtles’ favorite food: ulva. For this reason, we see a disproportionate abundance of green sea turtles in this region of the archipelago. These cold, nutrient rich waters also make for an ideal habitat for the Galapagos penguin. Two penguins came very close to us while snorkeling, providing us with an up-close observation of their feeding behavior.

We ended the day with a hike along an extensive lava field found at Punta Moreno. Guests learned about pioneer plants, such as lava cactus, that colonize these harsh environments before any other vegetation. We also discussed geology and the formation of the islands, given that the Galapagos hotspot is located in the very region in which we were hiking.

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About the Author

Alexandra Widman


Alexandra grew up on the southeast coast of the United States. She has a deep love for the ocean that stems from her childhood spent surfing, kayaking, diving and fishing on the Intracoastal Waterway. Alexandra has lived on San Cristóbal Island for the past 6 years, having fallen in love with Galápagos the moment she arrived as a fledgling marine ecologist. She holds a bachelor’s degree in marine biology and a master’s in environmental science and management from the University of California Santa Barbara.

About the Photographer

Alex Joseph

Video Chronicler

Alex was born and raised in Alabama. First living in a state park on the Tennessee River then growing up on Alabama’s white sand beaches, he has always had an affinity for nature and wildlife. Alex started his professional career while studying film at the University of Alabama. Working as a news cameraman, he covered President Obama’s inauguration and received three Associated Press awards. After graduating, Alex left news to enter the documentary world. Shortly after, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill happened, and he moved back home to Gulf Shores to document the tragedy for the city. This led him to Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic with whom he has traveled around the world, chronicling the adventures of these once-in-a lifetime trips.

About the Videographer

Dave Katz

Video Chronicler

As a family growing up in the Finger Lakes region of New York, free time was spent in the outdoors. Dave’s mother, an earth science and biology teacher turned weekend hikes into informative lessons. The beautiful gorges, lakes and forests made a lasting impression.

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