From the National Geographic Endeavour in Galápagos

Mar 21, 2012 - National Geographic Endeavour

Land iguana
Panoramic view of the brackish water area

Cerro Dragon & El Eden Island

Today’s expedition was to explore the unknown territory of Cerro Dragon. On the way to shore, suddenly our explorers noticed a head popping out of the ocean – a turtle coming up, opening its mouth to catch a fresh breath of pure air, then never to be seen again. While we got to shore with the purpose of finding Galápagos land iguanas, the custodian of the rocks – Sally Lightfoot crabs – watched from the distance.

After landing on the rocks that have been there for hundreds of years, guests headed inland to discover different contrasts, from a white sand beach (with some cactus) to a brackish water pond with different species in it. There was a black-neck stilt, Galápagos ducks, and at some distance, with its unique elegance, the greater flamingo stole the moment to be the protagonists and the center of the long lens zooms.

Through incense trees and Galápagos cottons the sharp eyes of the naturalist noticed a land iguana in the distance. A as we got closer, we discovered there were actually two of them, courting, a behavior observed only at this time of the year.

Later in the morning we snorkeled at Guy Fawkes Islet. Galápagos sharks caught the attention of our explorers; some of them had that unforgettable adrenaline-rush experience for the first time, which will make them want to know more about sharks and how important they are for the ocean.

The afternoon expedition took us out in the Zodiacs to inspect the unique lava flows that have been colonized by tenacious vegetation with different resident fauna such as blue-footed boobies, pelicans, brown noddy terns and lava herons.

In preparation for the Equator crossing, King Neptune woke up from the sea and visited us on board the National Geographic Endeavour to awake in our younger explorers the will to protect nature and the oceans; he gave them names of creatures from the ocean, as they are their guardians now.

After a blink of an eye and the many activities, the day was over and we found our explorers on the upper deck celebrating another day of expedition and life in this unique world, while we sailed around Daphne Major. An indescribable sun set on the horizon, welcoming the stars and the night to come.

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