Had a wake-up call for 6:15 to view the ship going around Roca
Redonda - a huge rock outcropping in the middle of the ocean. It
is the top of an extinct volcano and the feeding site for hundreds
of seabirds. Bottle-nose dolphins played in our bow wake. After
breakfast we crossed the equator. Then we got into zodiaks for a
ride around Volcan Ecuador on Isabela Island. Isabela Island is
the largest island in the Galapagos and has 5 of the biggest volcanos.
Volcan Equador is one of the most impressive as it was sliced in
half by wave action. This
was our first sighting of the Galapgos Penguin - the only Penguin
found in the northern hemisphere. (See Penguin
Photo Gallery for additional photos and information on the Galapagos
we went snorkeling and watched a school of penguins feeding underwater
- they were like torpedos zooming along. A school of Golden Eagle
Rays swam underneath us and a marble sting ray. Saw lots of Sea
Turtles and a giant mola-mola or Sunfish. You'll have to come visit
us to see the underwater video of our snorkeling sightings! (The
cocktail of the day was the Penquin - a lemon daquiri concoction.)
Our afternoon excursion was to Fernandina Island. This is the westernmost
island and one of the youngest ones. It is also the most volcanically
active island in the world. The last eruption was in May, 2005.
Much of the island is composed of new lava with no vegetation. It
is probably the world's largest pristine island, that is, all the
plants and creatures arrived here naturally or evolved in place.
There is a huge colony of marine iguanas on the island. Hundreds
of them are piled on lava rock. Since they blended into the lava,
we had to be careful not to step on them as we walked around.
We also made our first sighting of the Flightless Cormorant. This
the rarest bird on the islands. It is the only cormorant in the
world that lost its ability to fly. Since they had no predators
on land and there was plenty of food in the sea, they had no need
for wings. They nest on cliffs closer to the water's edge. Underwater
they use their powerful legs to propel themselves through the water.