Fernandina and Isabela Island

Feb 03, 2020 - National Geographic Endeavour II


Today has been a truly amazing day. Even when you’ve been here many times, as I have, it’s still such a wonderful experience.

During the morning, Punta Espinoza was full of life. We visited the tide pools to see the baby sea lions that were playing and swimming around all over them. Getting inside the bay, we encountered many marine iguanas on the trail; they were basking in the sun after feeding from the rocks.

 A little further along, we say Galapagos flightless cormorants drying their atrophied wings after the morning feeding session. Some of them were swimming in the water and one chick was begging for food. It was interesting to watch them swimming with their web feet. Following the trail, we ended up in the lava cactus area. This is one of the first plants that colonized the islands, growing in barely any soil made us realize how little they need to create life!

After this outing we went for a snorkel with Pacific green sea turtles that were very active, feeding around the area, while a huge school of black-striped salemas appeared. We were very lucky to be able to swim with baby bull eye puffer fish that were around; it was a very cute encounter! A marine iguana was also feeding on green algae from the rocks for more than fifteen minutes about four feet under the sea!

Coming back onboard, as we sailed to Punta Vicente Roca, we spotted a pod of dolphins – over two hundred of them were sailing with us!

Lunch was Mexican, and it was delicious! The Zodiac ride around Punta Vicente Roca was full of activities and we spotted lots of blue footed boobies, brown noddy terns – some of them mating, some with newborn chicks and some building their nests – as well as several Nazca boobies and six penguins resting on rocks. We also spotted flightless cormorants swimming around with green turtles.

The tuff cone scenery is always breathtaking and today it was home to many baby Galapagos fur seals that were swimming around the bay, close to the rocks.

Immediately after this outing we all gathered on the sky deck for wine tasting while crossing the Equator line. Even though the day was already great, some short fin pilot whales were jumping around the ship together with bottlenose dolphins, just to end an amazing and unbeatable day!

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About the Author

Paola Luque

Naturalist

Paola was born in the major Ecuadorian port city of Guayaquil, raised near the ocean and rivers. Since childhood she felt a deep connection with nature, which led her to settle in the Galapagos Archipelago in 1998, on the central island of Santa Cruz. Here she got involved in the tourism industry, with a particular interest in food and cooking.Her passion for the sea and traveling then led her to sail the world's oceans to remote destinations, working as crewmember and chef on private yachts for 5 years.

About the Photographer

Nicolás M. Tagle and Fito Ruiz T

Nicolás M. Tagle and Fito Ruiz T

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