Feb 20, 2019 - National Geographic Islander
After breakfast, we arrived at the gray-sand coast of Isabela Island. We hiked inward, searching for the natural habitat of the Galapagos land iguana and other endemic species in the area. It was not long down the trail before we encountered a young female giant tortoise. This species of tortoise belongs to Alcedo Volcano, one of the major volcanoes on Isabela. The more we walked, the more surprises came along. In the end, our group spotted no less than five tortoises as well as several land iguanas and a large collection of well-known Darwin finches.
Most of the vegetation here appears supple and bright as a result of the recent rains, including the incense trees and poison apple trees which provide large amounts of food for the wildlife. After our hike, we arrived back at the beach where we first landed and went for a quick swim.
After lunch, we went deep-water snorkeling off the coast of Tagus Cove. While snorkeling, we spotted several green Pacific sea turtles, Galapagos sea lions, cormorants swimming, and a large variety of fish. We also had the opportunity to go kayaking. While kayaking, several small colonies of flightless cormorants were spotted, as well as a couple of Galapagos penguins roosting on the rocks and brown pelicans fishing.
After our first set of activities, some of us chose to back out for a hike up to the summit of an old crater lake, while others opted for a Zodiac ride along the coast to view penguins, flightless cormorants, and marine iguanas.
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