Galapagos Cruise Report: Southern Isabela

From the National Geographic Islander in Galápagos July 8, 2010

We woke up today in high spirits, surrounded by the enormous volcanoes of Isabela Island. There is wonderful magic floating in the air in these remote realms of the Galápagos archipelago. We started our day with a wet landing at Urbina Bay. In 1954 an extraordinary geological event occurred here, a volcanic uplifting. Huge underwater lava flows pushed up a large extension of the coastal bay area due to the strength of the nearby Alcedo volcano. As a result of this fascinating volcanic event, many marine critters were suddenly exposed to the air. Today, it is still possible to see shells and barnacles attached or melted on the black lava rocks. Large white coral heads were also exposed and now have become living proof of how powerful nature can be. During our two and a half hour hike at Urbina Bay we spotted several bright yellow Galápagos land iguanas and the exuberant vegetation as well.

After our walk, we enjoyed a nice cool swim at the landing beach. We took our young explorers for Zodiac driving lessons; it was an activity that they loved.

During lunch, we left Urbina Bay behind and headed towards Punta Moreno, located in the vicinity of Cerro Azul volcano. This is one of the most incredible places in Galápagos; here we found cacti and mangroves growing together, right at the ocean side. Punta Moreno is perhaps one of the most desolated places in Galápagos, for it has one of the most spectacular volcanic landscapes in the archipelago. The most adventurous guests went for a hike on a fascinating and challenging lava field. For those who did not want to be part of the hike there was the option of a Zodiac ride along the coastline; there we found several sea turtles, flightless cormorants and, rays.

We all returned aboard after a great day that ended with a golden finale, a gorgeous sunset.

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