Española Island is the oldest in the Galapagos, as it sits on the southeastern end of the archipelago. The islands are of volcanic origin, formed due to the activity of what geologists call a “hot spot.” When the Nazca Plate slides to the southeast, it moves over the volcano producing area. This causes new islands to develop. The islands towards the northwest are the youngest, and the ones on the opposite end are the oldest.
National Geographic Endeavour II
North Seymour & Rabida Islands
We began our day with a landing on North Seymour, where we encountered hundreds of birds, mostly frigatebirds flying overhead. We followed a path that took us to a breeding site of blue-footed boobies and magnificent frigatebirds. We watched their mating displays in awe as nature showed us its wonderful ways. Male frigatebirds inflated their red gular sacs and stretched out their wings trying to attract a mate. Male blue-footed boobies slowing raising their cerulean feet to show a potential mate that they can fish well and support a nest. We also spotted land iguanas, marine iguanas, lava lizards, and a Galapagos racer snake along the path. We continued our navigation to Rabida Island, famous for its red sand beach, a coloration resulting from iron oxide in its volcanic soil. Those who chose to snorkel were delighted with sightings of sea turtles, sharks, Galapagos sea lions, and colorful fish. As the sun dipped into the horizon, we continued with a casual walk to a brackish pond that has a resurgent population of American flamingos, an excellent way to finish this day.