Galapagos 2002 - 13 Feb - Punta Moreno, Isabela Is.

13 Feb
Disembarked at 8:15 AM, riding in the panga through narrow channels to a series of linked tidal lava pools to an old lava flow, where we disembarked. Desiree said the lava was 800 years old, but even taking into account the extreme aridity and heat, it's hard to believe. It looks half that, with little or no oxidation on the surface at all.

We walked across black lava flows, seeing an occasional Lava Cactus but little more, along a "C"-shaped trail instead of the usual loop. The second half of the walk, we began to encounter brackish lagoons, some plainly connected by tunnels to the ocean, even though open water was more than a hundred yards away. The lagoons were small oases in the sterile lava field, with surprising amounts of vegetation for saline water. The contrast between the stark, barren lava and the rich, green lagoons couldn't be greater.

It was very surprising to see reef fish, White-tipped Reef Sharks and even Green Sea Turtles in the lagoons. Apparently, the lagoons are linked to the ocean by a series of underwater lava tunnels, large enough and straight enough that animals as large as Green Sea Turtles and sharks can easily swim in. The shallower lagoons had Greater Flamingos and shorebirds, and even a Pied-billed Grebe.

But even with the lagoons, the heat was pretty bad on all of that black rock, and eventually we began to wilt. We made our way to the half-shade of a cove. Mary Zalar swam but the rest of us sat and sweated waiting for the panga, which gradually threaded its way to us.

Punto Moreno lava fields, Nancy with Lava Cactus
Punto Moreno, Isabela Island

Punto Moreno lava lagoon, too many photographers
Punto Moreno, Isabela Island

Punto Moreno brackish lagoon, Greater Flamingos
Punto Moreno, Isabela Island

Magnificent Frigatebird
Ruddy Turnstone
Wandering Tattler
Thayer's Gull
Franklin's Gull
Striated Heron
Lava Heron
Lava Gull
Galapagos Martin
Brown Pelican
Black-bellied Plover
Dark-billed Cuckoo
Whimberel (12)
Common Moorhen
Greater Flamingo
Semi-palmated Sandpiper
Least Sandpiper
White-cheeked Pintail
Pied-billed Grebe
Black-necked Stilt
Cattle Egret
Barn Owl
Yellow Warbler
Small Ground Finch
Medium Ground Finch
Smooth-billed Ani
Galapagos Flycatcher
Galapagos Mockingbird
Blue-winged Teal
Blue-footed Booby
Brown Pelican
Audubon Shearwater
Lava Lizard
Marine Iguana

Galapagos Sea Lion

Galapagos Map
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