Jun 11, 2019 - National Geographic Islander
We navigated much of the night and crossed the equator into the northern hemisphere during the wee hours of the morning. Sunrise found us heading west along the north coast of the large seahorse shaped island of Isabela. Isabela is by far the largest island in the archipelago and has more land mass than all the other islands combined. This morning we navigated slowly and searched for cetaceans and seabirds. We were delighted to find many of both—a pod of several hundred common dolphins gave us an amazing show!
We explored Punta Vicente Roca by Zodiac and then joined the marine world to snorkel. What an amazing experience we had: swimming with dozens of sea turtles, with penguins and cormorants, sea lions and fur seals, and of course colorful fish.
In the afternoon, we visited one of the most pristine tropical islands in the world, Fernandina Island. From a distance, this massive black shield volcano appears lifeless and dormant. But in truth the lava shores are home to thousands of marine iguanas, lava lizards, bright red Sally Lightfoot crabs, sea lions, and many species of land and marine birds. Flightless cormorants are interesting birds. Their ability to fly was lost evolutionarily over time, as the seas around the Galapagos are so rich that they could easily dive for food instead.
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