Galapagos Cruise Report: Southern Isabela Island

From the National Geographic Islander in Galápagos September 2, 2010

Flightless cormorant Our morning started with an incredible view of the biggest volcanoes in the Galápagos. Once on land, we discovered the young lavas characteristic of the western side of the archipelago. Urbina Bay, the place we visited in the morning, was uplifted in 1954 – several miles of the shoreline came out of the ocean and drastically changed the whole landscape of the area. We walked along the coast to witness this tectonic event that left huge coral heads exposed. Thick vegetation colonized these shores very quickly because the ocean floor was rich in nutrients and its sandy bottoms contained plenty of organic material that formed good soil. Several plant species were seen along the trail: thorny bushes, yellow cordia trees, Galápagos cotton and the poison apple tree. We had the chance, among the vegetation, to find several Galápagos land iguanas and a Galápagos giant tortoise!

The afternoon of our Galápagos cruise was dedicated to Punta Moreno, an endless black lava field. There, only pioneer plants have succeeded: Lava cacti, Palo Santo trees, and Darwin and Galápagos daisies. Otherwise, the scenery was nothing but death and desolation…the latter statement denotes admiration, for we felt we were back in time. Some of us decided to take the Zodiac ride option to explore the coastline, where the strong winds felt this afternoon took us far and beyond the lava. Blue-footed boobies, frigates, cormorants and marine iguanas turned our afternoon into another fantastic ending for the day!

Enjoyed this Galapagos cruise report? View the detailed cruise itinerary…


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