Fernandina Island, Day 12

Galapagos hawk (juvenile), Fernandina Island, Galápagos Islands, Ecuador

Isabela Island to Fernandina Island and beyond…

First stop on this bloody hot morning is Urbina Bay on Isabela Island.  In 1954, this area experienced a major uplift, causing the land to rise over 16 feet in one night. The coast expanded by half a mile, leaving marine life stranded on the new shore.  The bay is reassuringly quiet today, however, as we search for tortoises, but none of them have strayed down from the highlands so we’re out of luck.  We do find the large, brightly colored land iguanas, though, and the little chaps pose nicely for pictures, god bless ‘em.

Adjacent to Isabela is Fernandina (youngest, most active, and most pristine of the Galapagos Islands).  Here we get some nice close-up shots of a juvenile Galapagos hawk, while on some nearby volcanic outcrops an orgy of marine iguanas huddle together, basking in the sun.  This species of iguana is unique to the Galapagos Islands.  They are also the only known species of lizard to live and forage in the ocean.  Their main food source is rock algae.  They are fascinating, if not immediately endearing, creatures.  And the little buggers snotted me on more than one occasion as I tried to photograph them.

There is additional treat in store for us tonight – crossing from the southern hemisphere to the northern hemisphere (albeit it only for a few hours) and we gather in the bridge with the captain, Juan, and a cocktail to celebrate the achievement.  Dinner is again on the fly as the Samba sails a tortuous route around the northern end of Isabela.  The pitching and tossing is so great that I fear we must abandon ship.  But at 2 am the MV Samba drops anchor off Santiago Island and everything is suddenly blissfully calm. 

Blog post by Roderick Phillips, author of Weary Heart – a gut-wrenching tale of love and test tubes.




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