Gardner Bay and Punta Suarez, Española Island

Jan 28, 2019 - National Geographic Islander


We woke to our first full day of expedition along the northern side of Española Island, starting first with an early-morning session of kayaking. The water while we were out was a fantastic blue and clear as glass.

We arrived at the beach, and it was was not long before the ever-curious sea lion pups came toddling up to play and smell around. We also saw a number of sea turtles and blue-footed boobies. After a good breakfast, we came in on a wet landing to a new, white-sanded beach at Gardner Bay. Here wildlife lives peacefully and seem to be not one bit timid in the presence of our guests. Some group members went deep-water snorkeling and played and swam with the sea lions.

Española is the oldest of the Galápagos Islands, isolated in the southeastern portion of the archipelago. This island has the highest rate of endemic (native) species throughout the Galápagos, and perhaps much of the world at large. An astounding ninety percent of species found on the island are exclusive to the Galápagos!

By 3:00 p.m. we landed at Punta Suarez, where we saw a flourishing colony of Nazca boobies with chicks. Also spotted along the way: Galápagos hawks, a giant tortoise, and a juvenile waved albatross.

Our first day of expedition was fantastic, spirits were up, and today’s fortunes will certainly set the mood for what is coming over these next few days!

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About the Author

Lenin Villacis

Naturalist

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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