FRIDAY NOV 26- ISABELA AND FERNANDINA ISLANDS

Friday 11-26: ISABELA AND FERNANDINA ISLANDS
Today we toured two of the larger islands, Isabela and Fernandina. Isabela was formed by 5 young active volcanoes and is the largest island in the Galapagos. It is an older island, and much more diverse than Bartolome, with many flowering plants and trees up in the highlands areas. We saw land iguanas and Galapagos tortoises here, as well as many small and large beaked Darwin finches. Later we snorkeled and I saw a colorful lobster, yellow puffer fish, and 3 or 4 big green sea turtles. It is really amazing how unafraid these animals are of people; they just swim right around you like you are no threat at all! Later in the afternoon we visited Fernandina Island, and saw a ridiculous number of marine iguanas all over the rocks, Galapagos hawks, and baby sea lions.
The amount of protection afforded these islands is really impressive. No one can tour the islands without a naturalist guide, and on each island there are only a handful of places where you can land and hike on very well marked trails. 99% of the land is totally untouched and pristine. There is not a scrap of trash anywhere, and you have to wash off your shoes when you leave each island to avoid spreading any invasive species to any other island.

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