We awoke to the view of the youngest of the Galapagos Islands, Fernandina. This is one of the best-preserved islands on the planet, with most of the species seen on the trail either endemic or native. Hundreds of marine iguanas were seen sunbathing along the coast of barren black lava fields. A couple of Galapagos flightless cormorants were spotted drying their feathers in the equatorial sun.

Fernandina allowed us to travel back in time to learn about the process of primary succession — what every island was like at the beginning before they had complex ecosystems. After the walk, we went deep-water snorkeling with Pacific green sea turtles, Galapagos sea lions, and a great variety of fish.

During the afternoon, we went on a Zodiac ride along the coast of Isabela. We explored a visitor site known as Punta Vicente Roca at the nose of the seahorse-shaped island. This site offers the opportunity to spot the two endemic flightless birds of the Galapagos. We were lucky to see Galapagos penguins and several Galapagos flightless cormorants feeding along the shallow waters.

After the Zodiac ride, we crossed the equator and had a celebration on the observation deck, where we enjoyed our experience with a glass of wine in hand. This was an incredible day exploring the pristine western islands of the Galapagos archipelago.