Espanola Island has one of the most successful giant tortoise breeding programs in the Galapagos. Just a few decades ago, it was filled with invasive species such as pigs, goats, and cats which destabilized the delicate ecosystem. I hope that the success of the breeding program and restoration efforts will be the best example for future generations as they continue working on different projects in the archipelago. Today, it is such a pleasure to hike surrounded by so much wildlife, seemingly pristine, thanks to hard work and dedication.
National Geographic Islander
Our day began with a relaxing morning stretch on the sun deck, followed by a tasty breakfast with muchines de yuca , a typical dish from the coast of mainland Ecuador. Then we disembarked at the lovely black beach of Urbina Bay. We hiked among big bright-yellow Galapagos land iguanas and several female giant tortoises of the Alcedo Volcano. Some guests got a very close look at the graceful Galapagos hawk, the top of the food chain on land. Returning to the beach, some of us swam all the way back to the ship. In the afternoon, at Tagus Cove, we snorkeled from our Zodiacs. Some guests got the chance to swim with Galapagos penguins. Other guests steered kayaks and paddleboards around the cove, checking for marine birds in the nesting areas. We finished the day outside with a great hike among tuff cones in the interesting geological landscape. Text and photos by Bernie Jacome, Naturalist