Lindblad Expeditions - From the National Geographic Endeavour in the Galapagos - Celso Montalvo, naturalist/photo instructor; Photo
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From the National Geographic Endeavour in the Galapagos

Oct 12, 2012 - National Geographic Endeavour

Lava Lizard
Blue footed booby

San Cristobal Island

Today is our last day in paradise, the adventure seems unreal. Now, we are all bonded together even though we are from different generations and even centuries; today we are one. The Galapagos brings magic to our souls and mind. We have traveled and seen Fernandina to San Cristobal islands, the youngest and one of the oldest in the archipelago, on an expedition, a journey of discovery through time.

San Cristobal Island is one of the eldest in the Galapagos. Today we land on a green olivine beach. We witnessed an imposing event as a bull sea lion claimed his beach with an impressive display of power by approaching the trespassers – us – with arrogance. Empowered by his attitude, he then realized we are just passing by and we are also not interested in his “senoritas.” The volcanic scenery that we observe during our intense hike is spectacular; the peaks of tuff high in the sky make this site very different from what we have already observed.

Punta Pitt also has impressive scenery from up above – here we can see the position of the sun and are able to tell the direction of the sea breeze. All our senses become aware as we listen to our surroundings and search for red footed boobies. Soon after, we enjoyed beach time and our younger explorers had a Zodiac driving lesson. We really enjoy teaching and seeing skills developing with tenacity and energy to say the least.

Later we reposition to Kicker Rock, an impressive tuff formation standing massive out of the shoreline. We circumnavigate as the sun is setting, remembering this is the place where we just snorkeled drifting with a powerful current with Galápagos sharks, rays, turtles, sea lions, fish, octopus and friends.

We are now together at the bow celebrating life. We have celebrated our last full day in the Galapagos.
We made it to the Galapagos and it was not easy. There is a deep appreciation to all who actually makes it to the islands. Statistics say that out the 7 billion humans in this world, only a few make it here. Per year, Egypt sees 11 million visitors, Hawaii sees 7 million, Yellowstone Park gets 3 million, Machu Picchu has 1 million and finally, the Galapagos Islands get 163,000 visitors per year, a fraction comparing to other places, and even fewer children. This is why I say, today we were honored to be part of their unforgettable experience and hope one day they would have the will and power to make a positive change in this wonderful world of ours.

Our expedition is now over; life goes on, but we are now sure this place has changed many lives; a place which can never be fully described. We all came with different backgrounds, different ages and yet we are now one, sharing this magic which will exist in our hearts and minds forever.

About the Author

Celso Montalvo·Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

Celso was born in Guayaquil, Ecuador. At the age of nine he arrived in the Galápagos for the first time and he was profoundly touched by nature, observation, and isolation.  When he saw the sharks, rays and turtles swimming in the bay, he was triggered by a sense of wonder that he did not feel before.  Celso believes education is key to preservation. After graduating from the Naval Academy at the age of 17 he moved to New York to continue his education.