Plaza and Santa Fe Island

Jan 04, 2018 - National Geographic Islander

Today’s expedition started on an uplifted island formed from volcanic seismic activities on the plates that form the Galapagos platform. This island is home to one the four species of iguanas found in the Galapagos Islands, Conolophus subcristatus, the Galapagos land iguana, also present on other five islands in the center of the Archipelago. The expedition continued in the water with some snorkeling and kayaking where we were able to spot eagle rays, sea lions and white-tipped reef sharks. In the afternoon the ship moved to a new location and we got to hike up Santa Fe Island. This island is one of the best examples of island conservation in which introduced species, such as fire ants and goats, were eradicated and endemic animals to the Galapagos, such as the Espanola tortoise, was introduced to the island to replace the Santa Fe tortoise, which became extinct due to anthropogenic activity. On the hike we were fortunate to spot eight individuals of the Santa Fe land iguana, Conoluphus pallidus. As we waited for Zodiacs to take us back to the boat, we spotted five Galapagos hawks waiting for prey. Today’s expedition was overwhelmingly beautiful, full of life everywhere we looked.

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About the Author

Gianna Haro


Most of Gianna´s memories seem to be dreams, made on flawless white sandy beaches with black lava rock contours and gorgeous turquoise ocean waters. Most of it happened while barefoot, in an enchanting place that some people regard as an ideal natural laboratory, the Galápagos Islands. For her it was home. Gianna grew up going to the beach nearly every day, snorkeling in crystal clear waters, playing with wild flowers, having sea lions steal her ice cream, observing marine iguanas, and identifying invertebrates. The latter was by no means technically accurate—she dubbed each new discovery with its own made-up scientific name. At some point during those early years, being an observer became an innate ability and she knew she wanted to be a biologist. 

About the Videographer

James Biscardi

Video Chronicler

James Biscardi is a young, ambitious professional photographer and videographer. He is always on the lookout for the next big adventure and “telling the story” through film.

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