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In Awe at Punta Suarez: Feathery Creatures Abound

By February 23, 2017Animals, Galapagos
16th to 20th February 2017
Today while sailing aboard the La Pinta Galapagos cruise ship, we visited Punta Suarez on Española Island, which is located on the southeastern side of the Galapagos archipelago. Española Island is one of the oldest islands of the archipelago, and even though it has suffered from erosion, it offers amazing cliff-side landscapes along with an overwhelming diversity of wildlife. This island takes up the morning portion during the 4th day of the Yacht La Pinta Eastern Itinerary.

Ocean waves crash against the cliffs on Punta Suarez

Good Things Come with Age

Due to its age, we tend to find a very high level of endemic flora and fauna on this island. It’s interesting to note that the endemic species of the Galapagos Islands cannot be found anywhere else in the world except here, within this archipelago. But what’s even more impressive is that the flora and fauna on Española Island are considered sub-endemic to this very island, which is to say that we cannot find them on any other Galapagos island either! This makes Española Island extra special.

A Flurry of Magic at Punta Suarez

We began our tour of the island today with a dry landing on Punta Suarez. At the time of landing we were impressed by the number of marine iguanas that had congregated on the landing site itself and along the coast. In addition to this, there was an entire reproductive colony of sea lions present. And this was all just at the beginning of our walk! As the journey continued, the experience got even better. From one moment to the next we found ourselves suddenly walking through the middle of nesting colonies of blue footed boobies, Nazca boobies, etc. And following this heavenly progression of events, we suddenly came upon not one but two Galapagos hawks – and they were copulating! We couldn’t believe it! The Galapagos hawk is the biggest predator one the islands. As the top species in its food chain, this terrestrial bird plays a very important role in island ecology. It doesn’t really have a mating season either, which makes the scene we witnessed a rather special and rare one!
Punta Suarez, Galapagos Hawk

A Galapagos Hawk stands at the ready on Punta Suarez

In total, our walk around Española Island lasted 2.5 hours with a temperature of about 30 degrees Celsius keeping us company. It was very important that our guides reminded us to wear sun cream, and take our hats and sunglasses with us, making our trekking much more enjoyable, even though we were all sweating by the end of it, as the humidity was very intense. We hardly even noticed the heat, though, given the number of incredible things we saw along the way. And as an extra reward for making it through the hot, sunny day we were surprised with an ice cream festival back on board the La Pinta Galapagos cruise ship. We are so grateful for all of these unexpected treats that the marvelous staff on board the ship keeps sending our way – in our rooms, at the restaurant, at the bar. These details make all the difference!
Christopher Klassen

About Christopher Klassen

With parents that worked for the U.S. Foreign Service up until he graduated from high school, Chris was raised to have the heart of a nomad throughout his life. He has resided in Honduras, Guatemala, Colombia, Panama and Ecuador throughout his years, and just recently spent the past four up in Canada finishing his Bachelor's Degree in Philosophy & English at the University of British Columbia.