Monday, July 4, 2022

Moreno Point, Isabela Island - Galapagos Islands

We got on our yacht, the Alya, in Puerto Ayora, on Santa Cruz Island, late Monday night, March 20, 2022. The Alya was anchored quite far out in the bay, so we were taken from the dock by panga (a small rubber boat with a motor) to the yacht. We ate dinner, then sailed during the night to Moreno Point, or Punta Moreno, on Isabela Island. Isabela is is the largest island in the Galapagos covering 1,792 square miles. It is more than half of the land area of the entire Galapagos archipelago and more than four times the land area of Santa Cruz Island, the next largest. As we sailed the waves were rocking the boat quite dramatically and many of us struggled to avoid sea sickness (some unsuccessfully). 
Tuesday morning, March 21, 2022, we got in two pangas (roughly 8 guests in each, along with a navigator in each and the naturalist in one of them) to explore Moreno Point. Moreno Point is on the southwestern coast of Isabela. It is at the base of a huge lava field leading up to the distant Cerro Azul volcano (at the far southwest end of Isabela), a shield volcano which is 5,531 feet in elevation, the second highest point in the Galapagos.  It last erupted in June 2008. It has brackish tidal lagoons, pools and mangroves and is a particularly good place for birds.  

We saw sea lions, striated herons, flightless cormorants, blue-footed boobies, marine iguanas, nesting brown pelicans, green sea turtles, penguins, shearwaters, brown noddies and ruddy turnstones.  Later that morning we went snorkeling and saw green sea turtles and orange rays. 

Following are some photos:
Galapagos shearwater

Flightless cormorant

Brown Noddy

Blue-footed boobies

Galapagos brown pelican feeding its young. 

Galapagos penguins

Striated or lava heron. This one is an adult. The next photo is a juvenile. 

Marine iguanas

Green sea turtle

Green sea turtle while snorkeling.

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