Day 3 - July 28, 2014 - Isabela and Fernandina Islands
By Desirée Cruz, Guest Lecturer
We woke up in King Neptune’s domains. Punta Vicente Roca is very close to where the equator crosses Isabela Island.
Isabela has the shape of a seahorse, and Punta Vicente Roca, located at its north-western side, constitutes part of its snout. Isabela comprises six huge shield volcanoes, one of which, Ecuador, collapsed into the ocean. It is at the remnant of this volcano where Punta Vicente Roca is found.
We did a Zodiac cruise during which we sighted a lot of birds: Nazca Boobies, Galapagos Penguins, Brown Noddy Terns, Galapagos Penguins, Flightless Cormorants, and Swallow-tailed Gulls. But for me, the best part of the morning was snorkelling in the cool waters of Punta Vicente Roca. This place is turtle haven! We literally saw them by the dozens, swimming along us, sleeping on the sandy bottom, feeding on the green algae. I was really looking forward to this excursion, and I was not disappointed at all. And, on top of all, towards the end of the morning I saw a Manta Ray!
In the afternoon we crossed the narrow Bolivar Canal (between Isabela and Fernandina) and dropped anchor at Punta Espinoza. Punta Espinoza is located at the north-eastern corner of the third largest island in Galapagos: Fernandina. Fernandina is the jewel of the crown in the Archipelago: no introduced animal or plant has ever been found here -it is as pristine as it should be. It is home to the very rare and vulnerable Flightless Cormorant and a beautiful site with black basaltic lava, white sand, and deep blue ocean.
On land we found many Galapagos Sea Lions – they were frolicking in the water and on the nearby beaches. There were nursing babies and caring mothers. And there were marine iguanas. The densest colony of the largest race of marine iguana occurs at Punta Espinoza, a place full of energy; we had to keep our eyes opened to determine whether what we were looking at was lava or iguanas.
And to carry on with life processes, a Great Blue Heron preyed on a marine iguana hatchling. No wonder Galapagos is considered an evolutionary showcase.
Can’t wait until tomorrow...
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