Isabela & Fernandina
We have sailed around the northern tip of Isabela Island overnight and arrived at Tagus Cove early this morning. Some of us 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, a brackish water lagoon with a small bridge of land between it and the ocean. The theory is that 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 on the way. Back in the pangas, we are treated to a ride along the coastline. We get our first glimpse of the Galápagos penguin and the flightless cormorant, both endemic species. Those who chose not to do the hike, go out on an early panga ride and are rewarded with fantastic sighting of 30-40 penguins (even the guides are amazed) and a pelican feeding frenzy, with numerous pelicans diving into the ocean to fish in the same area. Brown noddy terns balance on the pelican heads waiting for scraps. It’s all happening!
After a short rest on board ship, it is time to head back into the water. Kayaking and deep-water snorkelling are on offer. Sea turtles, sea lions, a white tipped reef shark and about 20 penguins swimming with us, cormorants fishing under us, numerous species of fish, sea stars and more! Can it get any better?
We are treated to an excellent lunch on the ship’s al-fresco deck and then time for a siesta or enjoying the sun deck before our afternoon landing. 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 number of marine iguanas seemingly waiting for us! We also see sea lions, flightless cormorants, Sally Lightfoot crabs, the Galapagos hawk, mocking birds, sea turtles in the tide pools and more. At the furthest point from our landing site we see an enormous sea turtle on the beach. We check to see that it is OK, and then take numerous photos, before it decides to make its way back into the sea!
Yet again another day in paradise!
photo © Diego