Espanola Island

May 05, 2019 - National Geographic Endeavour II

Espanola is the most southeastern island of the archipelago. It is the oldest island in the archipelago, slowly but surely losing the battle against the elements after drifting over two hundred kilometers from its birthplace on top of the Nazca plate, effectively losing all influence of the Galapagos Hotspot, the life force that fuels most volcanic activity in this group of islands. Despite being presently only a fraction of its original size, it is still home to a vast numbers of sea birds. Most notably, the largest bird in the Galapagos, the waved albatross, breeds only on this particular island and nowhere else on earth. The island is also home to a species of mockingbird and lava lizard, both endemic not only to the archipelago but specific to Espanola. We explored the northeastern end of the island at Gardner Bay during the morning, and the western end at Suarez Point during the afternoon.

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About the Author

Benjamin Ayala


Ben is a German-Ecuadorian naturalist guide who grew up on San Cristobal, the eastern-most island of the Galápagos Archipelago, home to the political capital of the province.

About the Photographer

Hosanna Norton

Hosanna Norton

About the Videographer

Liza Diaz Lalova

Video Chronicler

Liza fell in love with the ocean as a child growing up on the Ecuadorian coast. Her passion for storytelling and photography began at the age of seven, when she began filming her friends as they recreated stories from her parents' library. Liza later combined her audiovisual passion with her love for nature by majoring in Environmental Communication and Digital Animation. She began making documentary films, animations, and photographs aimed at inspiring communities to care for their natural habitats. Liza became enchanted by the Galapagos, where she first came as a student and has continued on as a volunteer for various conservation, education and arts organizations. She is now a professional conservationist and artist dedicated to inspiring and educating in small communities around Ecuador using creative audiovisual communications.

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