Isabela Island

Jan 22, 2020 - National Geographic Islander

The day started with early whale watching while navigating across the channel between Isabela and Fernandina islands. Soon, a small group of dolphins were spotted, and we had the chance to see their graceful jumps as they swam around us. After breakfast our first group departed to the island with the aim of walking over two miles on the uplifted shore at Urbina Bay. The trail at this site is covered with signs of marine life that once lived on these grounds. During the hike we found many Galapagos giant tortoises in the middle of the trail, sunning and posing in front of our cameras. Bright yellow land iguanas were also active this morning and displayed territorial behavior as they crossed from one side of trail to the other.

In the afternoon we sailed to the north in order to get to Tagus Cove. Unexpectedly, Fernandina volcano, which previously had volcanic activity, started expelling small dusky clouds of smoke. We kept close attention to anything that would signal more activity, but the giant volcano quieted again. Later we went snorkeling in the sheltered bay of Tagus Cove. It was a wonderful opportunity to swim with sea turtles, penguins and flightless cormorants (that became very interested in our group). Kayakers which also departed at the same time got to share this experience, but from above the water! The day ended with a beautiful sunset in between volcanic landscape.

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About the Author

Rich Reid

National Geographic Photographer

Award-winning photographer and filmmaker Rich Reid has specialized in environmental and adventure photography for over two decades. On assignment with National Geographic Adventure magazine, he cycled Alaska’s Inside Passage by ferry and explored California’s Gaviota Coast by bike and kayak. North American Nature Photography Association elected Rich as a Fellow for his significant contributions to the nature photography industry, and he was a finalist for the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year for his time-lapse video documenting forest fire ecology.

About the Photographer

Ramiro Adrian


Raised barefooted in Galapagos and inspired by sea lions and many other forms of life, Ramiro started his studies in biology and environmental studies in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, capital of the archipelago, and later continued his degree on the east coast of Australia. He specialized in Environmental Communication and Conservation.

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