Day 12 – March 23: Galapagos #3 – Fernandina Island/Punta Espinosa & Isabela Island/Tagus Cove

Galapagos Islands Travel Blog

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Sally Lightfoot Crab



Same routine today:

·         Wake up at 7:00am

·         Breakfast 7:30-8:30am

·         Morning excursion 8:30-10:00am

·         Lunch at 12:00pm

·         Afternoon excursion 2:30-4:00pm

·         Kids Dinner 6:00pm

·         Briefing 6:30pm

·         Dinner 7:00pm


We woke up to a pretty heavy rainfall L  Luckily by breakfast, it was a light drizzle.

Sea Lion
  The guides prepared plastic bag raincoats for people who did not have raincoats.




In the end, there was no rain on the hike.  However in retrospect, I should have worn my rain jacket around my waist on the panga ride to the island �" the seats were wet, which got my butt all wet.


On the ride over, the water was so clear that we could see some sea turtles.  There were even two of them mating on top of the water.  How do they do that?!


There was a dock built into the lava rock surrounded by mangrove trees, so this was a dry landing.  It was cloudy the whole time.  This kept the temperatures down and was gentle of everyone’s sunburned shoulders, but not great for photographs.


Right off the dock was a large group of marine iguanas lying all over each other.  They are pretty smelly.  I couldn’t tell you how many marine iguanas were on the island �" I don’t think I can count that high.  They were all over on our hike mostly clumped in groups.  Sometimes it was hard not to step on them because they blend in so well with the rocks and their tails are so long.


There were also countless Sally Lightfoot Crabs.  When they are young and small, they are as black as the lava, but the adults are a brilliant orange and quite striking against the black.  Some were beginning to shed their shell, and some were eating other crabs.


This was our first sighting of the Flightless Cormorants.  Sometimes they would spread their wings out so that we could see how small they were.


We also saw some bleached white whale bones all laid out nicely on the lava rock.  The kids loved checking that out.



·         Sea Turtles

·         Sea Lions

·         Marine Iguanas

·         Flightless Cormorant

·         Lava Lizards

·         Yellow Finch

·         Galapagos Hawk

·         Sally Lightfoot Crabs

·         Rudy Turnstone birds (migratory)

·         Yellow Warbler (singing)




Right before and after lunch, we had our second and last opportunity to go kayaking.

Penguin and Blue Footed Boobie
  My husband went (while my son and I read Calvin and Hobbes on the sundeck), and he came back all excited about penguins!


After lunch (and all the kids did their homework), the boat moved across the channel to a cove on Isabela Island.  We had a choice of a hike or going snorkeling.  It started pouring rain, so only one person chose the hike.  The water in this cove is much colder than other areas, so we all put on wetsuits. 




For this snorkel, we took the panga and jumped over the side.  Boy was I happy for the wetsuit �" it was chilly!


The highlight of the snorkeling was when the penguins swam by.  They are so fast and cool to watch!


There were lots of other great fish �" bright colors, large schools of different kinds of fish, sea stars.  A lot of people got back in the panga halfway through because it was so cold.  Once everyone was on the boat, we drove to the other side of the cove for another snorkel.  Ironically, the water was much warmer over there.


The highlights on the second snorkel were sea turtles and flightless cormorants.  As you look down into the green water, the sea turtles appear as blurs as they rise up and then come into view as they move slowly around you.  If you don’t move too quickly, they get within feet of you.


The flightless cormorants were swimming close to us, and then they would dive down and swim underwater.  Very interesting!


There weren’t as many smaller fish on this side, but the sea turtles alone were worth the stop.


ANIMALS: (some may be from earlier dives)

·         Penguins

·         Sea turtles

·         Flightless Cormorants

·         Butterfly fish

·         Yellow-tailed surgeonfish

·         Gold-rimmed surgeonfish

·         Moorish idol

·         Something like a Barracuda

·         Golden-eye grunt

·         Black-striped Salema

·         Blue-striped snapper

·         Sergeant major

·         Leather bass

·         Bumphead parrotfish

·         Blue-chin parrotfish

·         Rainbow wrasse

·         Sunset wrasse

·         Streamer hogfish

·         Soldier fish

·         Cardinal fish

·         Large banded blemmy

·         Lizard fish

·         Hawk fish

·         Galapagos puffer

·         Bullseye buffer

·         Reef cornetfish




After snorkeling, we went back on board the ship, changed into dry clothes, and then we all went back out on the panga to look at animals in the cliffs and along the waterline.

Penguin underwater
  We saw marine iguanas, flightless cormorants, and sea lions all swimming in the water.  Along the cliffs, we saw blue-footed boobies, brown pelicans, Sally Lightfoot crabs, and everything that we saw in the water.  We also saw some Frigate birds diving into the water to catch fish, and there were tuna jumping trying to get smaller fish.



·         Marine Iguanas

·         Flightless Cormorants

·         Blue-footed Boobies

·         Brown Pelicans

·         Sally Lightfoot Crabs

·         Penguins




After the panga ride, we relaxed on the boat until the briefing.  We are watching the movie “Creation” in segments, which is the “true” story of Charles Darwin.  It seemed like a good thing to watch in the Galapagos, but there’s nothing about the Galapagos in the movie, and it is quite depressing and hard to follow when not watched all at once.


Every night, a different group of people are invited to sit at the “captain’s table,” and tonight was our turn.  There were 5 five of us with Marlon, the captain, and we got to ask him questions about his life, the boat, and the Galapagos.  After dinner, he took us up to the bridge, which was really great because we were able to watch the GPS as we crossed the equator!


The clouds were clearing a bit, so we went up to the sundeck and looked at the stars.

Sea Turtle
  The moon was half full, but we could still see Orion’s Belt and the Southern Cross.



For the morning dry landing, everyone wore shorts and short-sleeved shirts with walking shoes and hats.

For snorkeling off the panga, everyone wore swimsuits and wetsuits.  No shoes or hats.

For the panga ride, everyone wore shorts and short-sleeved shirts with sandals and hats.  It started to drizzle a bit, so I wished I had brought my rain jacket and a plastic bag for my camera, but luckily it didn’t rain too much or too hard.


Breakfast was a buffet of scrambled eggs, salmon, toast, cereal, ham, fruit, and cereal.

After the morning excursion, we had orange juice and a spicy donut hole.

Lunch was a buffet of chicken in white sauce, beef in brown gravy, rice, potatoes, salad, corn bread (not sweet), and fruit.  This was my favorite lunch so far.

After the afternoon excursion, we had juice and tuna fish sandwiches.

Dinner for the kids was spaghetti with ham and parmesan cheese.  Dinner for the adults was the spaghetti or fried sea bass with green beans and rice.  Dessert was Tiramisu.

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Sally Lightfoot Crab
Sally Lightfoot Crab
Marine Iguana
Marine Iguana
Sea Lion
Sea Lion
Penguin and Blue Footed Boobie
Penguin and Blue Footed Boobie
Penguin underwater
Penguin underwater
Sea Turtle
Sea Turtle
Galapagos Islands
photo by: Melboorn