Fernandina and Isabela Island

Floreana Island, Espinoza Point
AM

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Fernandina island is the youngest and most western point of all of the islands. Its also one of the most volcanically active in the region, with the last eruption having taken place in April, 2009. In 1968 within a two week period the floor of the caldera sank 990 feet and in the early 1970’s the coastline of Punta Espinoza was uplifted 9 feet during an earthquake.

Today we would getting up early for a 2.5 hour walk before heading off for a snorkel along the coast. We were well used to the drill by now. Small breakfast with coffee followed by slipping on our life jacket and boarding the zodiac accompanied by the driver of the zodiac and of course our naturalist.

We drove along heading for the coast but as we got close to the shore we noticed a number Frigate birds circling and swooping over one spot. As we got closer we noticed  that a young sealion was playing with a fish it had caught, tossing it out of the water several feet and then swimming after it quickly. The birds were driven to distraction. We stsyed for a few minutes until the sealion decided to stop the game and eat the fish, much to the disappointment of the Frigate birds.

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Our Zodiac made it to shore and it was time for us to disembark. It was the usual ungainly mess as the zodiac went up, down, left and right. Its not so easy to clamber onto the lava in these conditions or perhaps im just getting old!

As we made our way in land there were more marine iguanas than we had ever seen in one place previously. Literally hundreds of them lying on top of each other with only movement being the occasional scuffle or getting up and  appearing to vomit. Actually it turns out that the vomiting is how the iguanas filter the sea salt out of their system by spitting it out. It looks uncomfortable though.

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On this island the Sally Lightfoot crabs seem to be best buddies with the crabs. It wasnt unusual to see them lying on top of each other. It was a peculiar sight thats for sure.

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As per usual, the scenary was certainly different, very volcanic a bit like Iceland but only warmer with a nice beach.

Trek completed we headed back to the zodiac to get our wetsuits to go snorkeling. Our Zodiac pulled a couple of feet away from a seem of volcanic rock that jutted out into the air about three feet.

Launching ourselves off of the zodiac into the water welooked around and to our disappointment there was nothing to see. So we swam for the northern part of the rocky outcrop and it wasnt long before we found marine iguanas diving of the cliffs, swimming like crocodiles but locking for fresh sea vegetation. They gnorred at the greenery like there was no tomorrow. It was certainly bizarre and like on terra firma theyvwere not remotely interested in what any of the snorkelers were doing.

Swimming along a little further we then noticed what we were really here for..and there they were,  green sea turtles! They look so ungainly and about the size of the rotating part of a roulette table at a casino or put another way about three feet by two feet. They seem to lumber along gently and like the iguanas look to chow down on vegetation where they can. However, unlike iguanas who cling to the rocks like limpets the turtle get buffeted by the motion of the sea. Unlike the iguanas they cant cling to the rocks because they only have flippers. Like everything ese.in.the Galapagos the turtles are nonplussed by our attendance.

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We swim wim.with these rather cute shelled creatures for about twenty minutes before were called back to the boat

It’ll be time for dinner soon. Boody hell, I.must have put on.5lbs already. Ill not get in my swimming trunks soon if I varry on esting at this rate!

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