Galapagos Cruise Report: Isabela and Fernandina Islands

From the National Geographic Endeavour Galápagos July 13, 2010

Today we explored the two youngest islands in the archipelago: Isabela and Fernandina. We began our usual wildlife observation early in the morning, and those who rose early were rewarded with amazing seabirds flying around us. There were so many petrels crowding the sky – like bats inside a cave – it was unbelievable! As we arrived at Vicente Roca, we prepared for another wonderful adventure exploring all these majestic cliffs of the Ecuadorian volcano. At the beginning of the Zodiac ride, a large group of fur sea lions surprised us and made a lot of noise around our boat. We continued along the cliffs, the cute sea turtles appearing at the surface as if they where welcoming us.

The blue-footed boobies were plunge-diving alongside the boat as if part of a spectacular circus show, and on top of that, the Galápagos penguins on the rocks struck different poses for all the guests toting cameras. After the Zodiac ride, we pulled our gear together for the next amazing activity—deep water snorkeling. As soon as we climbed into the water, tens of thousands of white salemas surrounded us. There were so many that it was almost impossible to spot the sea turtles resting on the seafloor. The playful sea lions were our friendly companions in the water just as they were all day on the Zodiacs. The scenery could not get better: penguins swimming around us, flightless cormorants fishing off the rocks, and of course the blue-footed boobies plunge diving right in front of us giving us many face-to-face encounters.

Once we were done snorkeling, it was time to enjoy the delicious Ecuadorian specialties at the buffet lunch. As we were sailing to Fernandina Island, we were intercepted by a fantastic Bryde’s whale. We arrived at Fernandina Island, which has the perfect combination of young lava and nature. We had the chance to see the smooth pa-hoe-hoe lava flow everywhere we moved, and just like a cute natural decoration, the fantastic lava cactus offers the perfect contrast. The place had plenty of marine iguanas that looked like dragons of the ancient times, and once again our friends the flightless cormorants stood by nesting and taking care of their cute chicks. On our way back to National Geographic Endeavour aboard Zodiacs, we enjoyed the view of the landscape that La Cumbre volcano created on the island we’d just explored.

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