This is our first full expedition day in the Enchanted Isles. Our guests are eager to explore this incredible and pristine world full of unique species found nowhere else in this world. Today our ship is anchored at Gardner Bay, a remotely located in the south of Galapagos. Located on the equator, the Galapagos is a meeting point for several marine currents. The cold-water Humboldt Current brings many nutrients that support this diverse ecosystem.
After having breakfast and delivering the snorkeling gear to our guests, we went to the encounter the marine wildlife at the foot of Gardner Island. As soon as we jumped into the water, dozens of Galapagos juvenile sea lions came to play with us. They are very curious and friendly, and it was an astonishing experience for our guests. Suddenly, in the shallow water, a black-tipped shark passed below our feet, perhaps in search of their favorite prey, sea lions. We also spotted turtles, several kinds of tropical fishes, coral, crustaceans, mollusks, and invertebrates. After snorkeling, we went to explore an amazing beach with turquoise water, where some sea lions were basking under the equatorial sun. with pelicans diving nearby. We also saw mockingbirds and finches.
In the afternoon, we moved to Punta Suarez. I love this place! One animal endemic to this place is the majestic, waved albatross, considered the best glider of the world. They stay here from April to December to mate and nest. Then the entire colony heads south to Peru and Chile for food. Only the adults will come back next year. The juveniles stay south for about five years, learning the secrets of the ocean. Once they reach sexual maturity, they will come back to Española to find a mate and ensure the survival of their species.
This year, the waved albatrosses were joined by hundreds of blue-footed boobies, returning to an old nesting ground. While observing their courtship dance, we saw a male booby feeding its chick with a huge piece of fish, as big as the head of the baby. Sunset came quickly, and it was time to return to our ship. As a naturalist, I love sharing the wonders of these islands.