Espanola Island

Dec 02, 2019 - National Geographic Islander


Just as it was getting light, National Geographic Islander pulled up to our anchorage for the morning in Gardner Bay, halfway between Gardner Beach and Gardner Islet. I was already up and about, because this morning was our first chance to take kayaks out, and early morning is superb for that! Calm seas, dove-grey skies, marine turtles, sea lions and boobies. Fabulous start to the day!

After a thorough briefing about snorkeling procedures, everyone interested tried the equipment either from the beach (great way to get going if it’s been a while, or perhaps one’s first try) or from the Zodiacs into deep water – and we went snorkeling! The underwater world of Galapagos is spectacular because one never really knows what to expect (fish, mammal or reptile)! As a group, we saw all!

The afternoon brought all kinds of endemics…Galapagos waved albatross, Española lava lizard, Galapagos mockingbirds, Galapagos hawk and Española marine iguanas. The trek was worth every step!

How long has this group been in the islands? Only 24 hours and we’ve already seen so much! The grandest surprise, and what we call the Olivia karma, was the appearance of a large pod of false killer whales mixed with bottlenose dolphins passing by the afternoon anchorage at the very moment we were disembarking for the visit...which we then delayed by just a bit…

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About the Author

Cindy Manning

Expedition Leader

Born in Lima, Peru, of North American parents, Cindy and her family subsequently lived in several South American and European countries with a couple stops in Peoria, Illinois. Cindy received a degree in biology from Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana. Afterwards, Cindy spent a year and a half teaching science in the Western Province of Kenya, East Africa. 

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