This southernmost island of Galápagos is also known as the mystery island among the locals, for a series of events that occurred here among its early inhabitants, involving conflicts, disappearances, murders and more. These cases are still unsolved and never will be.
Ready for the first pre-breakfast outing, we wake up at 5:30 a.m. We see the first rays of light as we head into the landing to a green, sandy beach whose color comes mostly from the presence of olivine crystal washed out of the volcanic ash by wave action.
Behind the beach is a brackish water lagoon where different kinds of birds find refuge and food as well as protection and nests. Among the several that can be seen here, the largest and most outstanding is the greater flamingo, a resident of these islands and whose numbers are limited to about 500 individuals. We saw them feeding on microscopic shrimp from which they get the beautiful pink color of their feathers.
Passing the lagoon we arrive at a white coralline sand beach formed by the breakdown of shells and other aquatic animals. This is a popular nesting site for the green sea turtles which come here during the year to deposit eggs in the sand for incubation. It takes about 60 days before the emergence of little baby turtles and their hazardous journey to the ocean to spend the rest of their lives there… if they make it. Only 1% survives.
After returning for breakfast we get ready to go on a Zodiac ride around the small islet of Champion, just off the island of Floreana, to look for some interesting wildlife, like the elusive Charles mockingbird. It once became extinct on the main island due to cat predation and its population has been reduced to only a couple hundred. The naturalist Charles Darwin collected it from Floreana on his stop here in 1835.
After a great ride we come back on board and get ready for a new adventure; this time in the water to enjoy a great snorkel session with big schools of fish, of all colors and shapes. But the greatest moments we have are in the company of the always friendly and playful sea lions. Hundreds of them swimming circles around us, blowing bubbles, performing stunts – just perfect, just as if they were trained to do it. Amazing memories are collected.
In the afternoon we go to Post Office Bay. In this historical place lies what was once a wine barrel that became the place where the mail was deposited or picked up by those spending years around these islands for different purposes, like whaling. The mail was then hand delivered by those returning home. We follow the traditions – this is fun!
A Zodiac ride for the encounter of wildlife, like the Galápagos penguin, came to close a day full of adventures in the Galápagos Islands.