Isabela Island forms over 50 per cent of the total land mass in Galapagos. We had the opportunity to explore four visitor sites on Isabela. Even though they are on the same Island and not far from each other, they are very different from one to another. This Island has the best places to see one of the largest populations of marine iguanas, penguins, cormorants, hawks, and finches that are endemic to Galapagos only.
National Geographic Endeavour II
Tower, or Genovesa, is home to over one million seabirds. Our highlights here were diverse, including fur seals, hammerheads sharks, turtles, manta rays, gulls, owls, and Nazca, red-footed, and blue-footed boobies. Our adventure started with a walk that began at the famous Prince Philip’s Steps. Nazca boobies, red-footed boobies, and frigatebirds surrounded us. Our guests spotted the elusive short-eared owl. All of us felt rewarded by the chance to view the only camouflaged owl on the island. Today was a red-footed booby day, and we spotted frigatebird chicks and marine iguanas. Nazca boobies are starting their mating season. Back on the ship, we prepared for our last snorkeling outing to search the undersea realm. Today we had close encounters with turtles, fish, playful sea lions, and fur seals for the last time. Seeing them up close brought excitement and admiration. After our great adventure, we returned to the ship where it was anchored inside Genovesa caldera. We were briefed about our departure and enjoyed our last delicious lunch, the pride of our culinary staff. Our next adventure was a wet landing on a white coralline beach inside Darwin Bay. The bay was named by a celebrity visitor, William Beebe, in honor of Charles Darwin, the great naturalist who redirected human thought. At high tide, we walked over a platform surrounded by birds of all kinds, including chicks. We observed the birds’ behavior and colors. We were moved to see so many active seabirds, especially by the parents who took care of the juveniles, hoping that one day they will fend for themselves. We were happy to find a few marine iguanas. They are smaller and darker here, as this island in the northern hemisphere has a much different ecology. Like in a Petri dish, different ecology equals different results. Taking this walk was like being transported back in time. Birds flew all over like in prehistoric times, and lava formations showed off the first foundations of Earth. Later, it was time to return to the ship and reminisce about our many experiences during this wonderful week. As we looked back and gazed at the islands for the last time, this place seems timeless to us. It is now deep within our hearts. Our experience on these special islands has been unforgettable. The wildlife has no fear here, and this allows us to realize that we are not so different. “We must rethink our indoctrinated knowledge, the methodical saying ‘don’t humanize the animals’ and instead ‘animalize the human’ by perceiving our surroundings with all our senses; embracing nature with our true-spirit by coexistence and respect for one another, so we can become one with nature as we once were.” Celso Montalvo We have all bonded like a family, united by an invisible mysticism. At the end of our journey, we hope to stay in touch. We know that the experience our guests had this week will stay with them for a lifetime. Adiós amigos.