Santiago Island

Sep 20, 2017 - National Geographic Endeavour II


Today we started our day on the western side of Santiago Island.  After an early wake up call, we landed at Espumilla beach, a place covered with an interesting mix of volcanic ashes and tiny pieces of green olivine , where we spotted several sea turtles mating close to the coastline.  After crossing a forest of button mangroves, we continued through an area covered by huge palo santo trees. The soil was humid, giving off a very enjoyable scent. Several Galapagos hawks and Galapagos mockingbirds were spotted during our walk up to the summit of a small hill.  From the top, we were able to enjoy a beautiful view of the coast and a brackish lagoon full of Bahamas pintail ducks, and the National Geographic Endeavour II anchored in the distance.  Shortly after we headed back to the ship for breakfast.

Later in the morning, we visited Buccaneer’s Cove. Here we had a number of water activities to offer, such as snorkeling, glass bottom boat outings, and kayaking to enjoy the impressive landscape of the place. Snorkelers spotted surgeonfish, king angelfish, moorish idols, parrotfish, snappers, grunts, Galapagos sea lions, white-tipped reef sharks, sting rays and many others species of reef fish. The water visibility was around 30 feet and water temperature was 70 degrees Fahrenheit—what a great combination!

In the afternoon, we landed on the black volcanic sandy beach; some of our guests went snorkeling and the rest went for a hike along the coast of James Island. Here we had the chance to walk along the coast where  found some interesting lava formations known as grottos. We spotted fur seals and sea lions that had brand new babies, different species of shore birds such as semi palmate plovers, American oyster catchers, sanderlings, ruddy turnstones, sandpipers, as well as lots of marine iguanas, and much more.  After witnessing an incredible sunset, we headed back to the National Geographic Endeavour II. Our adventure continues tomorrow. 

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About the Author

Ximena Cordova

Naturalist

Ximena was born in Cuenca, the third largest city of Ecuador. Located in the Andes Mountains, Cuenca is known as the cultural capital of Ecuador and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Trust site because of its many historical buildings. Ximena gained experience with American culture as an exchange student in Santa Barbara, CA, and later, while living and working at the United Nations in New York City for four and a half years.

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