Espanola Island Travel Blog› entry 10 of 17 › view all entries
Our next port of call is Espanola, a full nights sail away on our boat which has started to list to starboard. I have started to check the emergency equipment on board. Life jackets etc and I'm not impressed.
Many of them have no working lights and it's obvious that many of them have not been checked recently despite it being part of the regulations and something that should have been done during the refit. More ammunition for our compensation claim.
Española is the southernmost of the Galapagos Islands and is also one of the oldest. Geologists estimate it is about four million years old.
Over thousands of years, the island slowly moved away from the Galapagos hot spot where it was formed and the volcano became extinct. Erosion began to occur, eventually resulting in one of the flattest islands in the archipelago with one of the lowest elevations.
The quantity and variety of wildlife found on Española make its two visitors sites among the most popular and attractive of the archipelago. Because Española is one of the most isolated islands in Galapagos, it has a large number of endemic species,the Española Mockingbird, the Española Lava Lizard, and the Waved Albatross, to name a few.
The Española giant tortoise species was rescued from the brink of extinction and is now one of Galapagos’ greatest conservation success stories.
Starting with only 14 individuals found on the island in the 1960s, scientists and resource managers at the Charles Darwin Foundation and Galapagos National Park have since released nearly 1,500 young tortoises on Española where they are now thriving.
Española is probably most well-known for being the sole breeding ground for the entire population of the world’s Waved Albatrosses. Given their limited breeding range, the species was originally listed as Vulnerable but is now classed as endangered.
It was changed to Critically Endangered due to its decreasing population resulting from threats including fishing in waters near the mainland, oil pollution from fishing boats, and global warming and its effects on the frequency and strength of El Niño events.
The Waved Albatross population is currently being monitored by the Charles Darwin Foundation and the Galapagos National Park Service and activities to protect them and their habitat are underway.
Waved Albatrosses are the largest birds in Galapagos. They are remarkable birds, standing nearly 1 m high with wingspans of 2 to 2.5 m and living up to 40 years. Every year the entire world’s population of adult Waved Albatrosses returns to Española during the nesting season, from April to December.