Isabela Island

Jul 09, 2019 - National Geographic Endeavour II


Guests onboard National Geographic Endeavour II spent the better part of the day exploring Isabela Island. We kicked things off with an early morning hike at Urbina Bay in search of the Alcedo giant tortoise and the Galapagos land iguana. We encountered several juvenile giant tortoises at the start of the trail. Guests learned about their ecology, evolutionary history, as well as the threats they have faced historically due to the introduction of invasive species.

Further along the trail, we observed several large male land iguanas, one of which had been digging a den. Guests spent some time testing their finch identification skills, as this site is home to several interesting species. After our hike, we took a refreshing dip at the beach, where we encountered sea turtles and a Galapagos penguin. There were several sea turtle nests on the dunes at the beach.

After our hike, guests attended a lecture on Galapagos oceanography. The naturalist discussed the water’s current systems that drive unique marine assemblages in the islands and how those assemblages are affected by El Niño. Later, a special Ecuadorian lunch buffet was served. It was a treat for guests to learn about Ecuadorian cuisine and culture as they dined on some local dishes, including ceviche, coconut fish, and hominy soufflé. After lunch, guests went for paddle boarding, kayaking, and snorkeling excursions around Tagus Cove. We encountered flightless cormorants, Galapagos penguins, green sea turtles, and many tropical fish species. The Pacific green sea turtle occurs in high numbers on this side of the archipelago due to the nutrient rich waters that support abundant marine algae.

After our snorkel, we disembarked at Tagus Cove for an invigorating hike to Darwin Lake. Guests learned about the mysteries surround this hypersaline lake, namely how the ocean water ever reached the crater. The landscape was the perfect backdrop for family photos. After our sunset hike, young explorers gathered together for a pizza movie night together in the lounge.

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About the Author

Alexandra Widman

Naturalist

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.

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