Galapagos Islands ~ Isabela Island, Fernandina Island

Thursday, October 27th ~ Galapagos Islands ~ Isabela and Fernandina Islands

Santa Cruz II

Santa Cruz II

Day 2 ~ A ship wide wake up call at 7:00 and breakfast served at 7:15, with a planned departure (again via panga boats) promptly at 8:15. Our day will be divided up into two sections. The morning on Isabela Island with our sightseeing all done from the small boats as we creep along the cliff line searching for the tiny local Galapagos penguins, flightless cormorant, and marine iguanas. 

A large cave

A large cave

Some of the passengers have chosen the option to go snorkeling instead. The water is beautifully clear, relatively calm, but cold. Snorkel gear, swim vest, fins, and wetsuits are provided for those wishing them. Tim and I contemplate optional snorkeling scheduled for the next afternoon which will be done from the beach where we can simply walk into the water to the depth we are most comfortable with. Since Tim does not swim well, we thought this might be the better choice.

This is one of the panga boats we used

This is one of the panga boats we used

Once again the weather is picture perfect, and after loading in to the panga we head off. Following along the steep cliff line, we were lucky to spot a Galapagos Hawk. This is one of the few predatory birds in the islands. The picture is not great, but at least we did get to see one.

Galapagos Hawk

Galapagos Hawk

The rocks are teaming with life if you look closely

The rocks are teaming with life if you look closely

But the highlight came about when Tim spotted a large group of birds in mass hysteria a short distance off shore.

A lot of bird activity caught Tim's attention

A lot of bird activity caught Tim’s attention

Our guide immediately asked our panga driver to head that direction to check it out.

The hunt is on!

The hunt is on!

Low and behold we were so excited when we got to see a killer whale. The orca, a large male, put on a nice show for us for about ten minutes before moving further on. We were told that the Orca is a rare sighting and usually only seen about three times a year here.

Orca!

Orca!

The islands are volcanic. The geological structures are both beautiful and interesting and I loved seeing the harsh rock formations.

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Blue and turquoise water vs the red, grey and brown cliff

Geology of this island

Geology of this island

Here is a run down of the morning sightings:

Nazca and Blue-Footed Booby

Nazca and Blue-footed Booby

Nazca Booby (on left) and Blue-footed Booby

Brown Pelican and Marine Iguanas

Brown Pelican and many Marine Iguanas on the rocks

Brown Pelican and many Marine Iguanas on the rocks

Flightless Cormorant

Flightless Cormorant

Flightless Cormorant

Galapagos Penguin

Galapagos Penguin

Galapagos Penguin

Green Sea Turtle

Green Sea Turtle

Green Sea Turtle

Sally Lightfoot Crab

Sally Lightfoot Crab

Sally Lightfoot Crab

Frigate

Frigate

Frigate

The afternoon excursion was to Fernandina Island, the youngest of the over 100 islands in the Galapagos chain. And I thought our initial landscape from day 1 was harsh. HaHa, that was an oasis compared to this stop.

Black lava with a few cactus

Black lava with a few cactus

Our walk was primarily done across rounded black lava. There were a few mangrove trees were we disembarked from the panga, but other than a few colorful short cactus, there was little vegetation here.

Close up of cactus. It was really quite pretty, almost velvet like in appearance .

Close up of cactus. It was really quite pretty, almost velvet like in appearance from afar.

Skeleton of a Pilot whale

Skeleton of a Pilot whale

The main focus at this stop was to learn more about the marine iguanas. There were hundreds of them in huge gatherings. Being reptiles, they soak up the sunshine during the day light hours, lounging about on the rocks. But when it turns dark, they huddle together, one on top of another to try to conserve their combined body heat.

Marine Iguanas

Marine Iguanas

Small sandy area scattered with crabs

Small sandy area scattered with crabs

And if I have not already lost you, here are some more pictures of the many, many amazing animals we saw today. This island was a true walking zoo. It just happens to be all in raw nature. I think this will go down as one of the most memorable days I have had in a very long time.

Marine Iguana

Marine Iguana

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Lava Lizard

Lava Lizard

Our guide extraordinaire, Roberto, showing us the skeleton of a Marine Iguana

Our guide extraordinaire, Roberto, showing us the skeleton of a Marine Iguana

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Galapagos Penguin

Galapagos Penguin

Galapagos Sea Lion

Galapagos Sea Lion

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Sally Lightfoot Crab

Sally Lightfoot Crab

Plus a few miscellaneous critters including a NON poisonous snake, Brown Pelican and Flightless Cormorant.

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And last but certainly not least – a Galapa Gus

A very rare Galapa Gus sighting...

A very rare Galapa Gus sighting…

GRATITUDE MOMENT: Today I am grateful for the strict rules that have been put in place to protect these extraordinary creatures.

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About Tim and Joanne Joseph

Hi and welcome! We are Tim and Joanne Joseph and we have just embarked on our "next chapter". At a stage in life where traveling the world, taking pictures, and sharing our adventures with friends and family will be our dream come true.
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13 Responses to Galapagos Islands ~ Isabela Island, Fernandina Island

  1. V.J. says:

    Amazing pics again! There is nothing like seeing nature in the raw!

    Like

  2. Paul Finnell says:

    Beautiful pics Joanne (and Tim). Are you using the Sony or the Nikon? What size/type lens do you have on the Nikon (focal length)? Your posts have certainly raised this trip up much higher on my bucket list!

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    • Paul, we have the Sony RX100 with us, plus two Nikon’s. My D7000 was only used a little as I was just as happy with the results from my Sony. Most of the scenery shots and non-close up pictures are from the Sony. Tim has his larger Nikon D2XS which is older, with a Nikkor AF-S VR 70-200 mm 1:28 that has been fabulous for the close up animal shots. A couple people in our group were using 300 or 400 mm lens, but I only saw a few sample results. They looked pretty nice as well. Hello to Linda!

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  3. Great post, loving the photos

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  4. The wonderful journey continues. I never get tired of seeing photos from the Galapagos. Thanks so much. –Curt

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  5. natalyadrian says:

    Stunning place! Stunning pics!!!

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  6. Wow amazing pictures of the beautiful birds and the island too.👌👌👌👌👌👌

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