This morning we had both long and short hike options, and in addition, a photo hike with Jonathan. Everyone had delightful outings and got wonderful photos of large colorful land iguanas, giant tortoises of varying sizes, finches, mockingbirds, and yellow warblers. It was a cool, mostly cloudy day, but with some sun the weather was perfect. After the hikes some of us swam with feeding pelicans and a fast-moving penguin before returning to the ship.
As we left Urbina Bay, we spotted whale spouts – again! To our amazement we soon observed at least eight Bryde’s whales, a blue whale and a humpback. Captain Cifuentes nimbly maneuvered National Geographic Islander from whale to whale, and we got some very good looks at them as they were diving to feed and resurfacing for air. It is extremely unusual to find three whale species all feeding together, as we did today!
In the afternoon, we kayaked, snorkeled, hiked and explored via Zodiac at Tagus Cove. Penguins, both darting around us in the water and resting on shore were a highlight for many of us! The golden afternoon light on the barren palo santo trees, the view of Darwin Crater Lake, and the majestic slopes of the volcanoes on northern Isabela were landscape scenes that the hikers will long recall. There is a purity and a peacefulness here – and spectacularly clean air, too! – which is very unique. We are all enjoying ourselves immensely this week in the Galapagos.