We spent our time visiting the island of Espanola, which is home to a number of species found nowhere else in the Galapagos – indeed, nowhere else on earth. Espanola lava lizards, Espanola mockingbirds, Espanola marine iguanas, the Espanola ground finch…then add a bunch more endemic and native creatures to the list! It was an easy morning on a white sand beach, shared with Galapagos sea lions. This was followed by a more challenging afternoon hike around Punta Suarez, a seabird haven. Nazca boobies, swallow-tailed gulls, frigates overhead…even the Espanola racer – an endemic snake to the island – was spotted among the rocks. Overall, it’s been a phenomenal day for sights, sounds, and smells.
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