Urvina Bay, Isabela

The Galápagos Islands

About half of the island visits involve wet landings.

Like the dry landings, you're taken on your boat by a panga (aka zodiac) which holds eight visitors and either your guide and a sailor or two sailors. You get out of the panga in water and walk to shore: when we were there, we didn't have any water much deeper than lower calf, but some of the guidebooks seem to mention much deeper water, even at places we visited.

Wet landing

As with dry landings, the crew members/guide will help you off the boat as much as you need: and will help you to get back on board again. At some beach sites, you could do a wet landing in bare feet, but at others you need to wear adventure sandals. Our guide, Silvia always told us in our evening briefing what footwear we should wear for each activity the next day, and I would hope that that practice is universal.


The geological interest at Isabela's Urvina Bay is that the marine reef just offshore was uplifted 4 metres, very quickly, as recently as 1954.
This provides the rare-for-the-archipelago experience of walking in the middle of a bed of coral.

Flightless Cormorants (Nannopterum harrisi) are endemic to Galápagos. There are now fewer than a thousand pairs, all nesting on Isabela or Fernandina.

They must have been able to fly at some time way back in their history, but now they have only vestigial wings, which when held out to dry in typical Cormorant style, look tatty and pathetic. These vestigial wings do not help them when swimming (they move through the water by kicking their powerful feet), but they are thought to help them to keep balance when hopping between rocks.

Flightless Cormorant with two tiny chicks on nest.


An interesting bug which someone suggested was a cricket.
Can anyone be more specific, please?

A Land Iguana hole. The 'tail trail' is a dead giveaway!

Land iguana hole

Small Ground Finches (male and female)

I was pretty certain these are Small Ground Finches (Geospiza fuliginosa), but John assures me they're Medium Ground Finches. The ID really isn't as straightforward as all the Evolution primers made me think.

An endemic flower, the Galápagos Cotton Gossypium darwinii.

Galapagos cotton flower and leaves

White flower

The annual Hairy Morning Glory (the 'hairy' refers to the leaves) Ipomoea adgypica.

Punta Moreno (Isabela 1)

The Islands







 > Urbina Bay

San Cristóbal

Santa Cruz

Santa Fé


Seymour Norte


The Wildlife

Diary 2004

Diary 2005

Complete Index


Bartolomé  ¦   Española 1  ¦   Fernandina  ¦   Floreana  ¦   Genovesa  ¦
   Isabela  ¦   North Seymour  ¦   San Cristóbal  ¦   Santa Cruz  ¦   Santa Fé  ¦   Santiago

Text and images © Liz Leyden, 2008
Email: liz [at] v-liz [dot] com
Don't hotlink to my images.

Many of my best Galapagos images are available, royalty-free, at:

View My Portfolio