Fernandina Island

Fernandina Island

Fernandina Island first appeared on the navigational charts and crude map produced by the British buccaneer Ambrose Cowley in 1684. He named it Narborough Island in honor of Sir John Narborough, an English naval commander of the 17th century. Its Spanish name, Fernandina, was given to honor King Fernando of Spain, who sponsored the voyage of Christopher Columbus.

Fernandina is the westernmost island in the Galapagos Islands, the third largest and youngest of the islands and most famous for its continuing series of volcanic eruptions. It is the most volcanically active of the archipelago and sits at the center of the hot spot that created the Galapagos Islands.

Fernandina remains mostly untouched with the exception of a single visitor site on the northeast edge of the island. The site offers a short walk around the small peninsula as well as a longer walk inland to the edge of a large lava flow.

Fernandina Island

The island has a large land iguana population, which nests both on the rim of the caldera of La Cumbre and in its depths. Due to the cold, upwelling waters of the subsurface Cromwell Current that hits the archipelago from the west where it is pushed to the surface, the waters surrounding Fernandina and western Isabela are the richest waters in the Galapagos. These cold waters also provide prime habitat for both Flightless Cormorants and Galapagos Penguins. Other wildlife includes sea lions, Sally Lightfoot Crabs, and occasionally Galapagos Hawks and land iguanas.

Punta Espinosa is also one of the best places to see the Lava Cactus. One of the first species to grow on young lava as it can survive with very little water. Two dive sites are also located on Fernandina. The first is adjacent to the land site at Punta Espinosa and the second further to the south at Punta Mangle. Both are great for Galapagos Penguins, sea horses, marine iguanas, sea turtles, and various species of sharks and rays.


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