Fernandina Island is the third biggest and also the youngest island of the Galapagos being approximately 700,000 years old. It is almost circular and about 21 miles across at its widest. The highest point is 4,900 feet (1,494 meters) and its land area is 248 square miles (642 square kilometers).
The island is comprised of a single huge active volcano, making Fernandina one of the most volcanically active islands. Eruptions occur every few years and it is exciting to see how the landscape and life on Fernandina changes. In 1968, the caldera (the upside-down soup bowl top) dropped over 1000 feet in 2 weeks. Visiting the island gives us a surreal feeling as with all the eruptions and the newness of the island, it feels as you've reached the end of the world.
The island was named in 1832 after King Ferdinand II of Spain. The English named it Narborough after Admiral Sir John Narborough.
Punta Espinosa is a narrow stretch of land where some of the most unique Galapagos species can be seen. While the panga driver skillfully eludes the reef to reach the landing site near a small mangrove forest, penguins throw themselves off the rocks into the water. Sally Lightfoot Crabs disperse on the lava near the shore and herons and sandpipers explore the mangrove roots. Marine Iguanas conglomerate in larger groups than in any other island. They are everywhere: basking in the sand, swimming near the shore, grazing on the exposed seaweed in the lava and blocking the way at the landing dock. This is one of the few places where there is the opportunity of watching the iguanas feed underwater..
Following the trail inland, two different types of lava flows can be seen and compared: an AA lava flow and a Pahoehoe lava flow.
At the tip of one of the small peninsulas, Flightless Cormorants are found. These birds are flightless because on the islands they had no predators and it was easier to find food in the ocean than on land. They progressively evolved for swimming rather than for flight. To see these fantastic birds, with their long, serpent-like necks arched forward, their wet, fur-like plumage and their bright turquoise eyes is to witness evolution.
|Area:||249 sq. miles (642 sq. kilometers)|
|Maximum Altitude:||4,900 feet (1,494 meters)|
|Geographic Features:||Lava fields|
|Getting There:||Private tour|
|Major Sites:||Punta Espinosa|
|Flora:||Lava Cactus, Pahoehoe Plants, Brachycerus sp. cactus.|
|Fauna:||Galapagos Hawks, Galapagos Penguins, Marine Iguanas, Sea Lions, Flightless Cormorants.|
|Activities:||Walks, snorkeling, scuba diving, bird watching, tours.|