Isla Isabela

Isolote Tintores

After landing at Isolote Tintoreras (near Isla Isabela); we were greeted by a marine iguana resting on the rock catching the first rays of the sun just after 6.30 am.

Marine iguana at sunrise – Isolote Tintores

There were many marine iguanas clinging to the rocks and they varied in size from about 10 cm to over a metre including the length of their tail.

Marine iguanas over a clear lagoon – Isolote Tintores
Land iguana – Isolote Tintores

The National Park rules require a 2-metre distance from the wildlife. This can be challenging to follow when animals cross the path directly in front of you.

Lava lizard – Isolote Tintores
Lava lizard – Isolote Tintores
Marine iguana perched on a rock – Isolote Tintores
Marine iguana taking advantage of volcanic rocks to warm up – Isolote Tintores
Male marine iguanas fighting for dominance – Isolote Tintores
Marine iguana – Isolote Tintores
Marine iguanas – Isolote Tintores

Sealions take every advantage they can, including using the shade created by the mangroves to have a rest.

Sealion and marine iguana soaking up the morning sunshine – Isolote Tintores
Sealion hiding in the mangroves – Isolote Tintores
Lagoon on Isote Las Tintoreras

Isla Isabela – Puerto Villamil

Low tide and the churning sands meant that the snorkelling off Puerto Villamil was disappointing. The large and small volcanic rocks and the waves that kept pushing us back onto shore.

I was lucky enough to see a pelican catch fish and diving blue-footed boobies.

Brown pelican taking off after catching a fish – Puerto Villamil, Isla Isabela
Sea lion playing by the pier at Puerto Villamil, Isla Isabela

The sea lions are very territorial and take over the benches by the beach. Some of them “hiss” at humans who get too close while others are quite happy to share their seat with one.

Isla Isabela – Puerto Villamil
Sea lion on the beach at Puerto Villamil, Isla Isabela
Sea lions taking over the ferry terminal – Puerto Villamil, Isla Isabela
Sea lion taking possession of benches – Puerto Villamil, Isla Isabela
Sea lion taking possession – Puerto Villamil, Isla Isabela

Arnoldo Tupiza Giant Tortoise is a breeding centre where they keep the giant tortoises by sub-species according to the island they come from and aim to replicate the conditions on their home island by varying the vegetation and amount of shade. To replicate the food availability in the wild, the tortoises are only fed every 4 – 5 days, this can lead to a feeding frenzy.

Mature tortoise commanding the attention of all visitors – Puerto Villamil, Isla Isabela

The slow lumbering gait of the giant tortoises across the courtyards was quite a sight, with their every move captured by the human paparazzi (including me).

Mature giant tortoise – Puerto Villamil, Isla Isabela
Mature giant tortoise – Puerto Villamil, Isla Isabela

By the boardwalk along Pozo Vilamail, we spotted the pink flamingos feeding in the shallows of the lagoon. Although flamingos are solitary animals, we spotted 4 of the 314 of the total population in the Galapagos.

Pink flamingo at Puerto Villamil, Isla Isabela

We celebrated Christmas Eve, with a large turkey complete with an Ecuadorian twist with tree tomatoes.

#buckletlist; #Galapagos; #travel; #nature; #landscape; #adventure; #intrepidtravel

Travel date: 24 December 2018

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