Española: Gadrner Bay & Punta Suárez

Feb 25, 2019 - National Geographic Islander

Today we reached Española, the oldest island of the Archipelago. Like San Cristobal, it also harbors a unique array of species endemic to this island. In the morning, we snorkeled around Gardner Islet, where the waters sat at a comfortable 82°F. We swam here with sea lions and even spotted a Galapagos shark.

Later, we visited a gorgeous beach and, in the afternoon, visited Punta Suarez, home to an important local bird estuary. But before landing, we experienced heavy rains typical of the hot season.

Walking along the rocky shores, we saw American oystercatchers and their chicks. More inland we observed the Española mocking bird, the Española lava lizard, and the Christmas iguana, the latter being a subspecies that is exclusive to Española Island. We also saw Nazca boobies during their breeding season. We spotted chicks of all stages and couples still mating.

We also observed a nest belonging to a Galápagos hawk on our way back to National Geographic Islander. Española never ceases to amaze anyone who comes here.

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About the Author

Luis Vinueza


Luis arrived in the Galápagos Islands for the first time when he was 11 years old in 1983, and from that time on he knew that Galápagos would one day be his home. He returned to the islands in 1995 and spent 14 months camping in a tent. Seven of those months were spent on Española Island, studying the relationship of reproductive success and mate retention of Nazca boobies. In 1997, he started working for the marine lab at the Charles Darwin Research Station (CDRS) on different fields including diving surveys to assess the patterns of marine biodiversity around the Galápagos Marine Reserve. His research included counting lobsters and sea cucumbers and participating as an advisor for CDRS during the negotiation process that led to the 1998 creation of the Galápagos Marine Reserve. 

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