June 17, 2012
The last day of research brought us to Urvina Bay on the west side of Isabela Island. In passing from Pueto Ayora around the southern end of Isabela, we followed the same route that Darwin took aboard the Beagle in 1835. In his book The Voyage of the Beagle, he wrote how the signs of recent volcanic activity were everywhere in these young western islands:
SEPTEMBER 29, 1835. We doubled the south-west extremity of Albemarle [Isabela] Island, and the next day were nearly becalmed between it and Narborough [Fernandina] Island. Both are covered with immense deluges of black naked lava, which have flowed either over the rims of the great caldrons, like pitch over the rim of a pot in which it has been boiled, or have burst forth from smaller orifices on the flanks; in their descent they have spread over miles of the sea-coast. On both of these islands eruptions are known to have taken place; and in Albemarle we saw a small jet of smoke curling from the summit of one of the great craters.