We headed to the western coast of Isabela Island. Isabela Island is the largest island of the Galapagos. It has an area of 4,500 km2. It consists of five main volcanoes. The west coast of Isabela is considered the official area for whale watching. We started our visit in Punta Vicente Roca. First we explored the coast. We found colonies of fur seals, and nesting sites for boobies, alongside other animals like flightless cormorants, marine iguanas, blue-footed boobies and green Pacific sea turtles. From a distance, we saw a group of pilot whales approaching the coast. That experience was a spectacle, and we were all able to concentrate on enjoying nature’s show. The next day in the morning, we were surprised by a group of humpback whales. The whales were jumping and beating their tails on the sea surface!
While enjoying nature’s show in the afternoon, we were once again amazed by a Bryde’s whale, which seemed to be feeding. Our captain circled around the whale to get a better look for half an hour before we continued our course northward to anchor in Tagus Cove. This cove is considered a historic site because of the amount of graffiti left by whalers, pirates and other visitors to the island in the 1800s. Our Western Islands itinerary includes a visit to this wonderful site.
Whales found on the west coast of Isabela are coming from the south in search of tropical waters. They look for specific sites that have an abundance of food, which will be suitable places to give birth to their calves. When they are born, the whale calves cannot survive low temperatures. They need to migrate to tropical areas so that they can give birth at sites that have plenty of food. Then the calves can quickly build thick layers of fat that will enable them to withstand the cold temperatures of the south.