Galapagos 2002 - Feb 14 - Tagus Cove, Isabela Island

14 Feb Afternoon
We snorkeled along the westerly shore of Isabela Island and into Tagus Cove. The snorkeling was good, with sea lions, sea turtles and an octopus, but generally the water was fairly cloudy and visibility was more limited than at other sites. Once again, the birds perched along the shore were utterly unconcerned at having the large, awkward semi-aquatic humans in the water near them. Blue-footed Boobies, Flightless Cormorants, Galapagos Penguins, Brown Noddies and Swallow-tail Gulls were all cooperative.

Tagus Cove is defaced by graffiti. That's probably an understatement. All of the vertical walls are spray painted with ship names, individual names and similar scrawlings. A few are done by scratching or carving into the soft tuft. In a way it's a history lesson - some of the graffiti goes back a hundred years or more - but it's a pretty ugly site and detracts from a beautiful location.

After snorkeling we hiked up a narrow wash to a ridge overlooking a saltwater lagoon, and then fairly steeply along the ridge to a line of spatter cones overlooking 1974 lava flows from an eruption of Darwin Volcano.

There were excellent views north to Darwin, Wolf and Ecuador Volcanos on Isabela Island, and across the Bolivar Channel to Fernadina Island and La Cumbre Volcano. There was steam venting from the summit of La Cumbre.

More than any place so far, the bone-dry Palos Santos was greening up a bit, or at least looked like it might be in the late afternoon sunlight. The thickets on the next ridge had a distinctly greenish tinge to them, where until now it was just grey.

Coming down we found two different Woodpecker Finches, one doing sapsucker behavior. We also encountered our first really belligerent bull sea lion, and had to make an awkward detour around him. I suspect he might have just lost a fight or something; there was no sign of a harem.

After supper, there was mild bioluminescence, but not as dramatic as North Seymour was.

Tagus Cove trail; M/Y Samba in background
Isabela Islan

Lava Lizard in mangrove, Tagus Cove
Isabela Islan

Tagus Cove, marine lagoon and Fernandina Is.
Isabela Islan

View from the ridge above Tagus Cove; Wolf Volcano
Isabela Islan

Small Ground Finch
Large Ground Finch
Yellow Warbler
Galapagos Mockingbird
Smooth-billed Ani
White-cheeked Pintail
Blue-footed Booby
Flightless Cormorant
Brown Noddy
Brown Pelican
Audubon Shearwater
Galapagos Penguin
Lava Lizard
Marine Iguana

Galapagos Sea Lion

Galapagos Map
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