Isabela and Fernandina Islands

Jan 07, 2020 - National Geographic Islander

Our journey started with the first light of day. The early risers were on the observation deck with cameras and binoculars in hand, scanning the ocean for marine life. As we navigated along the north side of Isabela, we saw several types of seabirds and some Galapagos sea lions. After breakfast we spotted a large pod of bottlenose dolphins, maybe 300 or more! As soon as we approached them, they started to bow ride and jump. It was a fantastic experience being surrounded by this group of playful marine mammals. Moments later we crossed the famous equator line and had fun with a little bit of ceremonial entertainment as we took part in the tradition of the crossing.

Once at the visitor site, we really realized that the entertainment was just beginning. As we explored the shore of Isabela, we encountered hammerhead sharks, ocean sunfish, many types of seabirds and two whales; all of them very close, and all a unique sighting. Later in the day we went snorkeling and were surrounded by sea turtles, sea lions, flightless cormorants, as well as many types of fish. Even orcas were spotted today!

What a magnificent day in western Galapagos!

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About the Author

Juan Carlos Avila

Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

Juan Carlos was born in Quito, Ecuador. He spent part of his elementary schooling in the province of Cotopaxi, a beautiful area in the Ecuadorian Andes ringed by volcanoes. In 1989 his family moved to the Galápagos and settled in the highlands of Santa Cruz, the second largest island in this archipelago. It was here that Juan Carlos finished high school and gained his deep love for nature.

About the Videographer

Joshua Vela

Video Chronicler

Joshua is our first Video Chronicler from the Galápagos Islands! He grew up on the island of Santa Cruz where he developed a strong connection with the natural world that surrounded him, and where he learned the importance of conservation.

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