Tuesday, 20 August 2019

NW Isabela and Fernandina Islands (Galapagos and Ecuador) - 20th August (Day 7)

After a rough nights crossing between Genovesa and Isabela and being thrown from side to side while asleep and with water spraying through the small port-hole next to my bed, we awoke to absolute calm in a horseshoe bay at Punta Vicente Roca on the NW coast of Isabela Island. After breakfast we spent some time enjoying the shear cliffs that encircle the bay and seeing our first Flightless Cormorant, Galapagos Hawk and many Green Turtle swimming under the surface in the crystal clear water. Clusters of Marine Iguana clung to the near shear cliff face, I am amazed at how good they are at climbing given their apparent rather lazy nature. After cruising the foot of the cliffs for around one hour we headed south through the straight between Isabela and Fernandina Islands where there were abundant Galapagos Shearwater, Elliot’s Storm-petrel, Red-necked Phalarope and small numbers of Galapagos Petrel (five) and Grey Phalarope (four). We saw numerous Mobula Ray leaping from the water. The highlight came when the call of a whale blow went out and after steaming towards the animals we enjoyed superb views of three Bryde’s Whale and an immature and adult Blue Whale, absolutely stunning and one of the highlights of the trip.

Blue-footed Booby - Punta Vicente Roca, NW Isabela Island, Galapagos

Brown Noddy - Punta Vicente Roca, NW Isabela Island, Galapagos

Nasca Booby - Punta Vicente Roca, NW Isabela Island, Galapagos

Marine Iguana - Punta Vicente Roca, NW Isabela Island, Galapagos

Brown Pelican - Punta Vicente Roca, NW Isabela Island, Galapagos

Punta Vicente Roca, NW Isabela Island, Galapagos

Punta Vicente Roca, NW Isabela Island, Galapagos

 Punta Vicente Roca, NW Isabela Island, Galapagos

 Punta Vicente Roca, NW Isabela Island, Galapagos

Brown Noddy and Galapagos Shearwater - At Sea between Fernandina and NW Isabela Islands, Galapagos

Galapagos Petrel - At Sea between Fernandina and NW Isabela Islands, Galapagos

Bryde's Whale - At Sea between Fernandina and NW Isabela Islands, Galapagos

Bryde's Whale (note the parasites hanging from the dorsal fin) - At Sea between Fernandina and NW Isabela Islands, Galapagos

Bryde's Whale - At Sea between Fernandina and NW Isabela Islands, Galapagos

Blue Whale - At Sea between Fernandina and NW Isabela Islands, Galapagos

Blue Whale - At Sea between Fernandina and NW Isabela Islands, Galapagos

Blue Whale - At Sea between Fernandina and NW Isabela Islands, Galapagos

Blue Whale - At Sea between Fernandina and NW Isabela Islands, Galapagos

Blue Whale - At Sea between Fernandina and NW Isabela Islands, Galapagos

Blue Whale with the splash of a Mobula Ray in the background - At Sea between Fernandina and NW Isabela Islands, Galapagos

Mobula Ray - At Sea between Fernandina and NW Isabela Islands, Galapagos

Mobula Ray - At Sea between Fernandina and NW Isabela Islands, Galapagos

Great Frigatebird - At Sea between Fernandina and NW Isabela Islands, Galapagos

White-vented Storm-petrel - At Sea between Fernandina and NW Isabela Islands, Galapagos

Nemo III off the coast of NW Isabela Island, Galapagos

NW coast of Isabela Island, Galapagos

Flightless Cormorant - Tagus Cove, NW Isabela Island, Galapagos

Green Sea Turtle - Tagus Cove, NW Isabela Island, Galapagos

Lava Gull on Nemo III - Tagus Cove, NW Isabela Island, Galapagos

Lava Gull on Nemo III - Tagus Cove, NW Isabela Island, Galapagos

A further 15km or so south we began to cruise the west coast of Isabela enjoying views of Galapagos Martin, Galapagos Penguin, Flightless Cormorant and numerous Green Sea Turtle. For a while we were joined by an adult Lava Gull that clearly was familiar with food being served on board ship. After lunch we did some snorkelling along the east coast of Fernandina where there were numerous close range Green Sea Turtle, great views of Marine Iguana swimming and feeding underwater and the highlight, two Galapagos Penguin hunting small fish underwater, it was amazing how fast they were.

We spent the rest of the afternoon at Punto Espinosa on the east coast of Fernandina walking the beach and lava. Bird highlights were great views of Flightless Cormorant and Lava Heron. Here we enjoyed great views of large numbers of Marine Iguana at very close range as well as Sally Light-foot Crabs and Galapagos Sea-lion. We were back to the boat for 17:30 and began our 12 hour overnight steam to the south coast of Isabela Island, a crossing that was thankfully calm after the last two nights of crossings.

Punta Espinosa, Fernandina Island, Galapagos

Galapagos Lava Lizard - Punta Espinosa, Fernandina Island, Galapagos

Galapagos Lava Lizard - Punta Espinosa, Fernandina Island, Galapagos

Galapagos Lava Lizard - Punta Espinosa, Fernandina Island, Galapagos

Galapagos Lava Lizard - Punta Espinosa, Fernandina Island, Galapagos

Galapagos Lava Lizard - Punta Espinosa, Fernandina Island, Galapagos

Marine Iguana - Punta Espinosa, Fernandina Island, Galapagos

Marine Iguana - Punta Espinosa, Fernandina Island, Galapagos

Marine Iguana - Punta Espinosa, Fernandina Island, Galapagos

Marine Iguana - Punta Espinosa, Fernandina Island, Galapagos

Marine Iguana - Punta Espinosa, Fernandina Island, Galapagos

Marine Iguana - Punta Espinosa, Fernandina Island, Galapagos

Marine Iguana - Punta Espinosa, Fernandina Island, Galapagos

Marine Iguana - Punta Espinosa, Fernandina Island, Galapagos

Marine Iguana and Galapagos Lava Lizard - Punta Espinosa, Fernandina Island, Galapagos

Marine Iguana - Punta Espinosa, Fernandina Island, Galapagos

Marine Iguana - Punta Espinosa, Fernandina Island, Galapagos

Marine Iguana - Punta Espinosa, Fernandina Island, Galapagos

Marine Iguana - Punta Espinosa, Fernandina Island, Galapagos

Marine Iguana - Punta Espinosa, Fernandina Island, Galapagos

Marine Iguana - Punta Espinosa, Fernandina Island, Galapagos

Marine Iguana and Galapagos Lava Lizard - Punta Espinosa, Fernandina Island, Galapagos

Marine Iguana - Punta Espinosa, Fernandina Island, Galapagos

Marine Iguana - Punta Espinosa, Fernandina Island, Galapagos

Sally Light-foot Crab - Punta Espinosa, Fernandina Island, Galapagos

Flightless Cormorant - Punta Espinosa, Fernandina Island, Galapagos

Flightless Cormorant - Punta Espinosa, Fernandina Island, Galapagos

Flightless Cormorant - Punta Espinosa, Fernandina Island, Galapagos

Flightless Cormorant - Punta Espinosa, Fernandina Island, Galapagos

Flightless Cormorant - Punta Espinosa, Fernandina Island, Galapagos

Flightless Cormorant - Punta Espinosa, Fernandina Island, Galapagos

Lava Cactus - Punta Espinosa, Fernandina Island, Galapagos

Lava Cactus - Punta Espinosa, Fernandina Island, Galapagos

Lava - Punta Espinosa, Fernandina Island, Galapagos

Punta Espinosa, Fernandina Island, Galapagos

Whale bone - Punta Espinosa, Fernandina Island, Galapagos