Today we woke up surrounded by volcanoes. We navigated Bolivar Channel between Fernandina and Isabela Islands on the westernmost side of the Galapagos Islands. These young islands, located only a couple hundred kilometers from the hot spot, remain volcanically active, and they experience constant eruptions.

This area, which I call “the wild, wild west of the Galapagos,” is remote and desolate with spectacular geology and abundant wildlife everywhere.

In the morning, Fernandina welcomed us with so many marine iguanas that we had to watch our steps. They were everywhere. We observed solo iguanas and big colonies, too. With their black coloration, they blend in with the rocks despite their incredible size. No other iguana in the Galapagos is as large. This is due to the abundance of algae found here.

With the sun warming up the iguanas and the guests, it was time for snorkeling in one of our favorite sites in the archipelago. We had the unique opportunity to swim with turtles. They were countless and massive. There were iguanas everywhere, and we spotted octopuses, sharks, and penguins. It was a fantastic snorkel indeed.

After lunch, we repositioned the ship towards “the chin of the sea horse,” known as Punta Vicente Roca. Here we enjoyed magnificent views of the cliff. We cruised the area on Zodiacs to search for wildlife, like Galapagos fur seals, Galapagos sea lions, Galapagos penguins, marine iguanas, flightless cormorants, and even Mola mola jumping out of the water. This incredible wildlife is due to the productivity of the waters and the abundance of nutrients.

We navigated towards the north along the coast of Isabela to pass over the equatorial line. With the volcanic scenery, the sunset, and a glass of wine, we celebrated an amazing day aboard National Geographic Endeavour II.