Floreana Island

Dec 18, 2017 - National Geographic Endeavour II

Floreana is also known as “the island of mysteries” due to some extraordinary events happened here in the 1930s, when some of the inhabitants died tragically under unclear circumstances. 

Our early risers had the opportunity to enjoy a spectacular sunrise, followed by a moderate-paced walk on an easy trail that goes right through a brackish water lagoon, where many different kinds of birds congregate. We continued to the other side of a tuff cone to a white sand beach where sea turtles nest. Several hundred of stingrays live here permanently and can be seen underneath the breaking waves along the beach. At the landing beach, we saw flamingoes and penguins together—unbelievable!  

Around mid-morning after a short navigation, we reached the island of Champion. We explored the area in Zodiacs, looking for sea lions, boobies, shearwaters, red-billed tropicbirds, and especially the Floreana mockingbird, which became extinct on the main island due to predation by introduced rats and feral cats.

Our next outing was a snorkeling excursion in one of the most beautiful locations in the archipelago. The underwater realm was teeming with activity, with multiple species of fish, playful Galapagos sea lions, and the most exciting of all, sharks!

In the afternoon, we anchored at Post Office bay, a well-known port of call for whalers and pirates who used the island to find fresh water and giant tortoises for food. The site also has an old wine barrel that was used as the first postal system in the archipelago—sailors would leave correspondence to be hand delivered by homebound navigators. Nowadays it has become a fun tradition for visitors to participate in.

The rest of the afternoon was spent on the beautiful beach, where our explorers had the opportunity to relax or practice photographing the animals.  Others explored the area by kayak or paddleboard.

At the end of the day, we retired to our floating home with smiles on our faces. Our exploration continues tomorrow, and more discoveries await us.

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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.

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