Early in the morning, we woke up to a view of the belly of a seahorse-shaped island known as Isabela. After breakfast, we made a wet landing on a sandy beach and got ready to explore the trails of this visitors’ site.

Along the trail, we were lucky to spot several giant tortoises feeding under the shade of poison apple trees while more tortoises drank from the rainwater ponds. At this time of year, Alcedo giant tortoises descend from the volcano and come to the lowlands. A few months into the rainy season, the area is full of vegetation.

We spotted several Galapagos land iguanas nesting along the trail. These golden, dragon-like reptiles are endemic to the Galapagos Islands. They are found on six of the islands in this archipelago. We spotted several, and some were right off the trails.

During the afternoon, we navigated towards Tagus Cove. We went deep-water snorkeling along the coast of this visitor site. We encountered several Galapagos penguins swimming alongside us. We observed Galapagos sea lions and a couple whitetip reef sharks. We even got to swim with a couple manta rays for a few minutes.

As we headed back to the ship after snorkeling, we spotted about four orcas in the distance. We quickly informed the ship about the sighting and went to see them up close. A couple females, a calf, and a large male were hunting for rays and sea turtles. The orcas were extremely friendly, and one of them came right up to the Zodiacs. Orcas are not very common in the Galapagos, and we were extremely lucky to spend around twenty minutes with them as they swam in the area.

On our way back, we observed mobula rays jumping near our Zodiacs. What a great day in the Galapagos Islands.