As I made my ‘early-risers wake-up call’ at 6 a.m., the sun popped up – a fiery yellow ball that soon disappeared behind a low cloud bank. It was a glorious morning and we gathered on deck with binoculars and searched the smooth glass ocean for dolphins and whales. Seabirds soared and we saw the rare endemic dark-rumped petrel. In the distance, we observed several leaping mobula rays, and watched a flying fish escape the ship’s bow and sail many meters over the waves. We then detected suspicious splashes far to the north, and our first mate Patricio turned National Geographic Islander so we could investigate. We were happy to find a pod of common dolphins leaping ahead of us!
After breakfast we celebrated crossing the Equator, then went out on a Zodiac cruise along the dramatic coast of northern Isabela Island. We encountered abundant wildlife and enjoyed the spectacular scenery. Two groups of brave guests entered the 60-degree water and snorkeled with sea lions, penguins, and sea turtles. The water was a bit murky because of the wave action, but the sea creatures were on full display! Our afternoon hike on Fernandina was amazing as we saw thousands of marine iguanas. Some even witnessed a snake catch a lava lizard, and of course we were all thoroughly entertained by the charming sea lions.