From the National Geographic Endeavour in Galapagos
Jan 7, 2013 - National Geographic Endeavour
Located in the south of the archipelago, Floreana is one of the few islands with a semi-permanent fresh water spring. Today, our ship is anchored by Punta Cormorant, and with a group of early risers we landed at the very attractive olivine beach. The trail took us through a palo santo forest, also called “incense tree,” its sap has a pleasant fragrance. At the end of the trail we arrived at a white-sandy beach, where several female Pacific green sea turtles were resting on the sand in the shallow water. It was clear that some of those females had laid eggs during the night, while other turtles were mating in the wave breakers, oblivious to our presence.
Upon return, it was time to go snorkeling around Champion Islet; the hot season has already started and the water conditions couldn’t be better: the waters were clear and the fish were abundant. There were thousands of fish like the king angel fish, Pacific creole fish, razor surgeonfish and parrot fishes. The Galapagos sea lions showed off their amazing acrobatics in the water and their natural fearlessness to humans. For both the snorkelers and those on board the glass-bottom boat, the underwater world of Champion Islet was fantastic! There was also time for a Zodiac ride around the islet, when we could take pictures of the beautiful sea birds that inhabit Champion, as well as spotting the ever elusive Floreana mockingbird, one of the rarest species on earth.
In the afternoon we had varied options to explore nearby Post Office Bay. Kayaking was chosen by several guests, who rowed along the calm waters of La Loberia, a small group of rocks which is the home to a colony of Galapagos sea lions. Others enjoyed the beach of Post Office, where a young Charles Darwin once landed when he visited Floreana in 1835. The Post Office barrel is one of the most visited places in the Galapagos; the original barrel was placed in this very same spot in 1793, as a means of communication between whalers and their families. As we returned back to our ship, the skies had cleared and the sun rays bathed the area…we could feel the magic of the Enchanted Islands all around us!