Lindblad Expeditions - From the National Geographic Endeavour in Galapagos - Patricio Maldonado, naturalist

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From the National Geographic Endeavour in Galapagos

Nov 12, 2012 - National Geographic Endeavour

Pacific green sea turtle
Post Office Bay

Floreana Island

Floreana Island is known as the island of mysteries, as some extraordinary events happened here in the 1930s.

An early wake was a great way to enjoy the sunrise, followed by a moderately paced walk on an easy trail that goes right through a brackish water lagoon, which sometimes has different kinds of birds. We continued our way to the other side of a tuff cone where a second beach has white sand and where sea turtles nest. We saw quite a few, some mating and others just hanging around maybe waiting for a mate. Several hundred of sting rays live here permanently and can be seen underneath the breakers along the beach. We were back on board for a full breakfast, before continuing with the program of the day on this beautiful island.

Around mid-morning and after a short navigation, we reached the island of Champion for a Zodiac ride to look for animals like sea lions, boobies, shearwaters, red bill tropic birds, among others. The bird that deserved the most attention was a species of mockingbird that became extinct on the main island due to predators. Only a few survived here on this island, and we saw quite a few unexpectedly very close; we are happy they’re still with us.

Our next outing was going snorkeling in one of the most beautiful locations, due to the presence of multiple species of fishes and other creatures. One of them was the playful Galápagos sea lion, which gave us the best moments of the session. Sharks also showed up too, and like most of the animals here, they were friendly.

Some departed for kayaking around small islands teaming with wildlife, while others just disembarked on the beach at Post Office Bay for photography and relaxation. Later, the rest of the guests came together to visit the old mail barrel supposedly erected by an English Captain, with the name of James Colnett back in 1793, to facilitate communication with his home. The tradition is still strong, as it has become very well known among the visitors of the Galápagos. Our guests were so happy to participate. All you do is read through the letters, and if you see one going close to where you live, you hand deliver it. It is fun, no stamps needed. The last activity of the day was a Zodiac ride around a rocky island with interesting wildlife, while the sunset gave out the last warming rays of a phenomenal expedition on this island.

About the Author

Patricio Maldonado·Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

Patricio, better known as Pato amongst his friends, was born in the Galápagos Island. His family moved to the islands from the mainland and settled on the island of Santa Cruz over thirty-five years ago. Pato had an enchanted childhood in the islands, where his keen interest in the wildlife of the Galápagos was born initially through catching lizards and observing how they lost their tails. His experiences in the islands have led him to teach visitors about the need to protect this rare and unique environment.