Española Island
  • Daily Expedition Reports
  • 08 Aug 2022

Española Island, 8/8/2022, National Geographic Islander

  • Aboard the National Geographic Islander
  • Galápagos

Today we visited Española Island, the oldest in the region of the Galapagos and the southernmost. We found ourselves on a dry island that is home to several endemic species only found here. All of them are icons in the Galapagos, including the magnificent waved albatross, which happens to be the largest of the birds in the archipelago, and the most colorful marine iguanas gathered along the trail by the hundreds! Last but not least, we observed mockingbirds and lava lizards.

In the early morning, we started the day by exploring the black basaltic shore from kayaks. As we paddled, we spotted iguanas, sea lions, and seabirds on the rocks. This landscape was new to our eyes. A dry, mysterious forest made up of endemic trees gave the landscape a special feeling. Some guests started the day with a stretching session led by our wellness specialist Maribel on the white sandy beach at Gardner Bay, home to Galapagos sea lions!

After breakfast, we headed to the snorkeling site to look for more excitement, and, of course, there was so much to see and enjoy in this place! Possibly the most playful of the sea lions live here, as do many species of reef fish. Snorkeling was fabulous!

In the afternoon, we explored Punta Suarez on the western side of Española. Here, a collection of animals delighted the eyes and souls of our explorers. As guests disembarked, they encountered colonies of Galapagos sea lions. At this time of year, there are newborn babies everywhere! The breeding season has just started, and there will be more sea lions arriving in the next weeks. This means many more babies will be born!

As we continued exploring the island, we spotted a humpback whale passing by on its way to neighboring San Cristobal Island. Eventually, we reached the colonies of Nazca and blue-footed boobies. It is the nesting season, and these colonies have hundreds of birds all along the shore. The island’s highlight is a colony of the only tropical species of albatrosses. They are endemic to the island and the largest of all the birds in this region. Waved albatrosses come by the thousands to nest on this rocky island and at this time of the year, to have babies!

What an unforgettable day. I cannot wait to see more.

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