The Galápagos Islands Day 5

Sunday, April 10th, 2022

This morning began with a dry landing and hiking on Espinoza Point or Punta Espinoza. As we got off the dinghy we saw a striated heron in the mangroves. It was also known as a mangrove heron.

Striated Heron

Of course there were sally lightfoot crabs scrambling around the area.

Espinoza Point is located on the northeastern shore of Fernandina Island. There was a colony of marine iguanas, about 1,000 to 2,000 resting on the lava. We were there early enough that the iguanas were still warming up and didn’t need to cool off in the ocean. On our hike we saw nests for the iguanas so you had to be careful and make sure you stayed on the marked trail.

Look closely at the two pictures below and see if you can find the marine iguanas within the lava. They were camouflaged very well.

Flightless Cormorants were spotted and we even saw a pair talking to each other. This bird is endemic to the Galápagos Islands. It was the only known cormorant that can’t fly. Its wings had become shorter and not long enough to fly. The Flightless Cormorants had adapted so well to swimming in the water and diving they no longer needed to fly!

A brown pelican was relaxing on the lava.

Brown Pelican relaxing

Lava cacti were all around the Point.

A Bryde’s whale skeleton was also spotted as we walked around trying not to stop on the marine iguanas.

Bryde’s whale skeleton

Sea lions were also lazing in the sun.

Sleeping Sea Lion

When we rounded the cove the waves on the other side were pretty high!

Big Surf

After our hike we got back on the dinghy and went to the ship to get on our snorkeling gear. When we were ready we rode the dinghy to our snorkeling area and jumped off the side. We saw sea lions playing in the water and swimming around us.

After our morning snorkel we went back to the ship. Once on board we saw a large turtle swimming by our yacht. It was most likely a green sea turtle and their status was endangered.

After lunch we cruised to our next stop, Elizabeth Bay, Isabela Island. As we sailed we enjoyed the views from our cabin balcony.

This afternoon Fernando, our guide, gave a lecture on Marine Iguanas. We learned that the marine iguanas have a lower metabolic need and eat about 30 grams of food per month where a bird needs 30 grams per day. Another interesting fact was that they can’t walk and breathe at the same time! The Galápagos marine iguanas are the only iguanas that feed and swim in the ocean. Because they don’t have gills that have to hold their breath when swimming underwater.

Lecture on Marine Iguanas

When we anchored at Elizabeth Bay we got on the dinghy’s to explore the mangroves and the small islands of the area.

Boarding a dinghy.

We saw many turtles swimming as we rode on the dinghy around the area.

A sea lion was laying on one of the mangrove branches!

Look closely to see the sea lion on the log!

A pelican relaxed in the mangroves.

A pelican in the mangroves

A lava heron was spotted on her nest protecting her eggs.

Lava heron nest

This evening we had our briefing for the next day and Fernando shared that by the time the week was over we would have crossed the equator four times, going from the Southern Hemisphere to the Northern Hemisphere!

For those of us interested we ended the day by watching part 1 and 2 of the Galápagos Affair. A true story that was a murder mystery that was never solved!

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