Isabela & Fernandina
We have sailed around the northern tip of Isabela Island overnight and arrived at Tagus Cove early this morning. We head off for a power walk up from the cove - well worth it because we are rewarded with a tremendous view of Darwin’s Lake, which is a brackish water lagoon with a small bridge of land between it and the ocean. The theory is the water has seeped through the porous lava rocks and ash at the base of the lake. On the pathways, the Palo Santos trees give off an incense-type aroma. We see Darwin's finches and mocking birds too. Back in the pangas, we are treated to a ride along the coastline. We are lucky to see plenty of blue-footed boobies diving for food, and we also get our first glimpse of the Galápagos penguin and the flightless cormorant, both endemic species. There really is a lot to see. The population of blue-footed bobbies has been declining in recent years but we have seen many more this morning and hopefully this is an upward trend for these beautiful birds.
After a short rest back on board ship, it is time to head back into the water. Due to demand, we have two rounds of kayaking. There is also an intrepid band of deep water snorkelers. Dawn thinks it was one of the best snorkelling experiences ever! Many sea turtles, sea lions, a Port Jackson shark, penguins swimming with us, cormorants fishing under us, fish, sea stars and more!
We are treated to lunch on the al-fresco deck and then time for a siesta or enjoying the sun deck before our afternoon landing. During lunch one of our guests spots a whale not too far from the ship, we all shout, point and abandon our lunch and see it pop up again, then back to lunch as we decide it’s not around for long.
The ship repositions, this time to Fernandina Island - the most westerly and the youngest island in the Galápagos.
We land at Espinoza Point and are greeted to sightings of marine iguanas swimming in the ocean and feeding on the algae that has been exposed by the low tide. When we arrive at the visitor site, we cannot believe the thousands of marine iguanas that are waiting for us!
Due to the El Niño event last year, we've seen a decline in the number of marine iguanas and their condition in the last year. But since the cold waters of the Humboldt Current have returned to the Galápagos in the last few months, marine iguana food has been in abundance, so the iguanas are healthy and fat once again! Their numbers have also dramatically increased. We also see sea lions, flightless cormorants, Sally Lightfoot crabs, the Galapagos hawk, mocking birds and more.
Most of us are also lucky enough to see two tiny Galapagos snakes. Some would prefer not to see them, but they are tiny and we're not on their prey list!
Back on board just as the sun is setting, we enjoy a fabulous lobster BBQ on the al-fresco deck. Yet again another day in paradise!