Dec 21, 2017 - National Geographic Islander
Today’s expedition started on a new island called South Plaza, we had an early and beautiful start setting foot on a landscape full of endemic bright red succulent plants and bright green prickly pear cacti and as we walked along the trail appreciating the view we encountered with a surprise, a new Galapagos species we have not seen before, a Galapagos land iguana (Conolophus subcristatus). Just as we thought we have seen it all, the Galapagos surprised us once again and one of the naturalists spotted a hybrid iguana up in a prickly pear cactus tree eating the pads. Hybrid iguanas on this island are the interbreeding of land Galapagos iguanas and marine iguanas, they are rare to spot, making this morning a great start to the day.
Back on board from the hike it was time for some jumping, but not any kind of jumping, it was the time of the week where we all get to jump from the bow of the ship into the water. Both kids and kids at heart lined up close to the bridge, got some courage and jumped into the water, to surface full of adrenaline and repeat the adventure as many times possible.
In the afternoon the Captain took us to a new island, Santa Fe Island. The bay and areas around the cliffs in this island are breath taking and home to sea birds and sea lions, waters are crystal clear blue and home to more playful Galapagos sea lions, fish, rays and white-tipped reef sharks. As soon as we arrived to the island a group of us went straight into the water to snorkel with the beautiful underwater life and another group went kayaking off the cliffs and around the island spotting sea birds, turtles and sea lions.
Santa Fe Island is also home to one of the four Galapagos iguanas, the Conolophus pallidus, this makes this land iguana not only endemic to the Galapagos, but endemic to only one island in the Galapagos Archipelago. After our water activities we went hiking to look for this rare and beautiful Santa Fe land iguana and to appreciate the landscape of this new island.
After the invigorating Santa Fe hike we came back to our home right around sunset, to end another beautiful day in paradise!
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