Punta Vicente Roca & Fernandina Island

Jul 23, 2019 - National Geographic Islander

Today our expedition took us to one of the most fascinating areas of this magical archipelago: the western realms of the Galapagos Islands. We started the day navigating along the volcanic coastline of Isabela Island, and just a few minutes after sunrise we spotted a large pod of common dolphins who accompanied us for more than half an hour. Common dolphins are very playful acrobatic creatures and we highly enjoyed observing and photographing them in their natural element.

Later in the morning, we went on a Zodiac ride along an area known as Punta Vicente Roca. The wildlife was plentiful, and we observed species including brown pelicans, noddy terns, blue-footed boobies, Galapagos fur seals, and more! After the ride, we readied ourselves for some deep water snorkeling off the coast where even more wildlife could be seen. We had close encounters with Pacific green sea turtles and even found some sleeping in the nooks of the ocean floor. Others were very active chewing on the green algae growing on the rocky bottom. Flightless cormorants, rays, and a couple of Galapagos penguins were spotted as well. What an amazing snorkeling outing.

In the afternoon, we had a dry landing on the lava flows of Fernandina Island, the youngest in the Galapagos archipelago. The young black lava fields are a perfect example of primary succession, as life establishes itself on a new terrain. Hundreds of marine iguanas were everywhere as we explored the pristine coastal ecosystem found here.

Once back onboard, we enjoyed a beautiful sunset from the observation deck and shared our impressions of this captivating day spent in paradise.

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About the Author

Carlos Romero

Expedition Leader

Carlos was born in Quito, Ecuador and grew up in Venezuela, where he lived for many years near the ocean and later the rainforest. He returned to Quito to study biology and specialized in the fauna of Ecuador. His main field of study was zoology with an emphasis on vertebrates. He has a doctorate in biology and a master’s in ecotourism and natural protected areas management. He designed a new curriculum for the largest university in Ecuador, the Central University— a masters in environmental management and administration of natural protected areas. Carlos has also taken part in various scientific projects and expeditions with the Biological Sciences Department of Quito’s Polytechnic University. He has published several scientific papers, including one about the bats of Galápagos and one about the vampire bat of mainland Ecuador.

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