Isabela and Fernandina Islands
  • Daily Expedition Reports
  • 17 Aug 2021

Isabela and Fernandina Islands , 8/17/2021, National Geographic Islander

  • Aboard the National Geographic Islander
  • Galápagos

The open ocean that surrounds the western Galapagos Islands happens to be the most productive region in the tropical Pacific Ocean. Here, we can find large populations of sea lions, seabirds and sea turtles. What is most important is that these islands are home to two iconic flightless birds, the flightless cormorant and the Galapagos penguin.

There are seabirds skimming the surface of the ocean, searching for their early feasts, and Galapagos fur seals swimming back home after their feeding forays. It is a great pleasure to see many dark rumped Galapagos petrels soaring in the region as well. A long time ago they were nearly exterminated by feral pigs and rats on the islands with human settlements. Today, they are back and the population keeps growing.

It was mid-morning when we reached Punta Vicente Roca on Isabela Island. Here, we boarded our fleet of Zodiacs to explore the shore and its inhabitants. Blue-footed boobies, Galápagos penguins, flightless cormorants and many other creatures were teeming on the rocky shore. Snorkeling at Punta Vicente Roca is always an extraordinary experience. Besides colorful reef fish, there is a large number of Pacific green sea turtles all around!

In the afternoon, we visited Fernandina Island. This island is the youngest in this region of active volcanoes. Fernandina Island has a large colony of marine iguanas, sea turtles and sea lions. Our outing on Fernandina was breathtaking, as we saw more iguanas than expected! There was a magical feeling when we explored the young lava fields, dotted with lava cactuses and clusters of hundreds of marine iguanas. Fernandina Island has tide pools that help the sea turtles regulate their body temperatures by staying stranded in shallow water exposed to the sun. Seeing these creatures all in one-place makes this island a fascinating place to visit at least once in your life!

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