Mar 18, 2019 - National Geographic Endeavour II
Today we sailed to the western islands of the Galapagos: Fernandina and Isabela. We woke up early, to search for whales before breakfast. The sunrise was spectacular. At 7:45 am we landed at Punta Espinoza, on the northeastern side of Fernandina. Fernandina is the youngest island of the Galapagos. The last volcanic eruption happened last year and the previous one in 2017. We walked along relatively new lava fields.
The western islands are also colder, due to the equatorial undercurrent and equatorial upwelling. Both events bring waters rich in nitrogen, phosphorous and iron, that in turn fuel primary productivity (the growth rate of marine algae). Today the temperature was 74 degrees Fahrenheit, 4 degrees colder than what we experienced at Rabida and North Seymour, islands that are centrally located.
In the afternoon, we sailed to Punta Vicente Roca, a collapsed caldera in the northern part of Isabela, the largest island in the Galapagos. We explored the walls of this caldera with our Zodiacs, and observed several species that are abundant in the western realm of archipelago, such as flightless cormorants, penguins, sea turtles, fur seals and sea lions.
Later, at sunset, we tasted wine and crossed the equator. We celebrated this event from the top deck of National Geographic Endeavour II, with the presence of pirates and buccaneers.
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