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North Seymour & Rábida Island

Frigates gliding along the coastline showed us where our landing site was, and upon arrival to the lava rock at our landing site a young sea lion moved close by. This was a sunny day with cool winds that helped the frigates and other seabirds that glided in front of us, but at the other end of the trail a blue-footed booby was making different sounds and stopped every now and then to whistle and point its beak to the sky, opening the wings at the same time. It was performing to get the attention of a female that flew by, and then the male booby stopped as she flew past, looked at the sky and tried again when another female flew by. We left the area and kept walking, and the next experience was having a land iguana on one side of the trail, motionless, but every now and then opening and closing one or both eyes.

In the distance a bright red spot made sounds and as we approached it, and we could distinguish that it was a male frigate with a fully inflated red pouch.

Jun 30, 2013 National Geographic Endeavour in Galápagos

Genovesa Island

An ancient caldera witnessed the enthusiasm of our explorers. Early in the morning, to catch the best light of the equatorial sunshine, photographers disembarked at Darwin’s Bay. As soon as we landed, a few sea lions basking in the white sandy beach captured our attention. We also found swallow-tailed gulls and lava gulls on the scenic landscape of Genovesa Island. In the mangrove forest, we spotted the only tree nesting booby in the Galápagos Islands. Red-footed boobies darkened the sky, heading to their fishing grounds on the northeastern side of the archipelago. Along the beach, sea lions and shorebirds entertained us with their playful behavior. Afterward, some guests decided to explore the underwater realm, while others enjoyed a close encounter with the wonders of Genovesa from kayaks, and some spent the rest of the morning at the beach.

Due to its isolation, Genovesa is considered the jewel of the Galápagos Islands.

Jun 28, 2013 National Geographic Endeavour in Galápagos

Bartholome & Chinese Hat

As soon as the sun rose, we started our day by climbing to the top of Bartholome Island. We started our climb to the top of this extinct volcano and had great light for photography. This island is famous for its spectacular landscapes and geology.

Volcanic features can be seen relatively well in the Galápagos.

Jun 27, 2013 National Geographic Endeavour in Galápagos

Santa Cruz Island & Cerro Dragón VIDEO

Our new day in the Galápagos Islands started with an early morning landing at Santa Cruz Island. Enthusiastic photographers were chomping at the bit to take advantage of the magical morning light at Cerro Dragón. We touched land at six in the morning, while golden light bathed the island. Prickly pear cacti and leafless Palo Santo trees lined the landscape along the trail.  After a few meters into the trail, we encountered a still water lagoon, where marine iguanas peacefully rested half-submerged. Magnificent reflections could be seen, and we were delighted with the endless composition possibilities. Suddenly, a pair of flamingos showed up. We kept walking through the trail to get the best possible angles for photography, and were lucky to see the colorful birds in their natural habitat. Land iguanas are a highlight of this trail. We searched between the dry shrubs and grasses to find several of them. Land iguanas are large, colorful and very tolerant of our presence. We spent hours either searching or photographing these primitive reptiles, while learning about them from our knowledgeable guides.

Guy Fawkes Islet was our destination for the later morning.

Jun 26, 2013 National Geographic Endeavour in Galápagos

Santa Cruz Island VIDEO

Once you are in the Galapagos Islands, the expectations of our guests are always in a high level. So in order to not disappoint them, following the schedule the National Geographic Endeavour anchored in Puerto Ayora which is the harbor of Santa Cruz Island. This island hosts more than the fifty percent of the “Galapagueños” as well as the main offices of the two institutions that help to preserve Darwin’s legacy. The Charles Darwin Research Station offered the best opportunity to see the animal that represents this archipelago, the giant tortoises. In this place we had the chance to find some of them resting after been fed by the people who keep them and wandering around their corrals. Also the land iguanas in their pens were the very cherry of this chocolate cake. Adults, juveniles, and babies stole more than a smile from our faces during the excursion.

Later we had a wonderful time in the town and around civilization after days of being disconnected from the outside world.

Jun 25, 2013 National Geographic Endeavour in Galápagos

Floreana Island

Being in the Galápagos Islands is a dream. Every outing is full of surprises. Early in the morning we went for a peaceful walk on Punta Cormorant. Our early effort paid off. The brackish lagoon was housing flamingos, stilts, whimbrels, and other waders. In addition, the path led us to an organic beach where we found hundreds of ghost crabs looking for organic material in the sand while frigate birds were soaring over the green Pacific sea turtle nests.

Late in the morning the underwater realm was pleasant and interesting with the variety of fish found for our guests in the drifting snorkeling.

Jun 24, 2013 National Geographic Endeavour in Galápagos

Espanola

Located to the southeast of Galapagos is also the oldest island of the group. It’s one of the best sites in the world for sighting fauna, as it presents so much variety in such a small range of habitats.

The morning started with some groups going deep water snorkeling off a small island near Espanola where lots of underwater life can be observed without much effort.

Jun 23, 2013 National Geographic Endeavour in Galápagos

Punta Pitt, San Cristobal Island

Today we started our expedition on the eastern most point of the archipelago; Punta Pitt. This morning we had our last wet landing, this time on a green, sandy beach made up of an inorganic mix of volcanic ashes and tiny pieces of olivine crystals. After drying our feet and getting back in our shoes we were ready to climb through an eroded trench created by the erosion of water and wind through millions of years.

Punta Pitt is the closest point to mainland Ecuador, about 600 nautical miles away, and one of the oldest islands of the archipelago.

Jun 21, 2013 National Geographic Endeavour in Galápagos

Santa Cruz Island

After so many days of travelling around the islands and totally disconnected from the outside world, here we are. We dropped the anchor just before the day and the activities started. It was time to visit the biggest town in the Galapagos, and find more human beings after days on isolated islands. Santa Cruz is the commercial capital and home of the headquarters of the two most important conservation institutions of the islands. During the morning we went to the Charles Darwin Research Station. By the time we got to the corrals where the giant tortoises live, they had already eaten all the vegetation we give them. Without any fear to humans they started to stretch their necks and pose for our cameras. Saddleback and dome tortoise types were there, both of them relaxing and heating their bodies. Darwin finches and mockingbirds were entertaining our walk with their beautiful songs.

Later instead of walking around the main street of Puerto Ayora and having fun, some people decided to mount a bike and go uphill to the second excursion, El Trapiche.

Jun 20, 2013 National Geographic Endeavour in Galápagos

Espumilla & Puerto Egas, Santiago Island VIDEO

A cool breeze was blowing as we approached the coastline on Espumilla Beach. The shore was calm and the usually big waves were absent today. At a distance a light colored object was standing next to a tree and our expectations began to build up; today was the day we expected to maybe encounter a Galapagos hawk, but Mother Nature had a lot of surprises waiting for us.

As soon as we disembarked on the soft sandy beach one of the naturalist guides pick up the binoculars to clearly distinguish the object at the distance - it was in fact a Galapagos hawk.

Jun 19, 2013 National Geographic Endeavour in Galápagos

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Please note: Daily Expedition Reports (DER’s) are posted Monday-Friday only, during normal business hours.

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Please note: All Daily Expedition Reports (DER's) are posted Monday-Friday, during normal business hours.