Santiago Island, Espumilla, Buccaneer Bay & Puerto Egas

Jan 11, 2018 - National Geographic Islander


Today we visited Santiago Island, a place where Darwin spent nine days during his visit to the Islands during his voyage on the Beagle. This Island is rich in human history and conservation efforts and was adopted by Lindblad Expeditions in 1997 to support its conservation efforts. As a result of that, goats and pigs have been eliminated from the island, which makes this one of the most successful restoration efforts around the world.

Early in the morning we visited Espumilla Bay, a wonderful landscape composed by mangrove tress, brackish lagoons, and giant incense trees. While Vanessa led a photographic expedition along the shore, Gabriela took our guest to a hike around a loop to observe this breathtaking landscape.

Afterward we moved to Buccaneer Bay to snorkel in warmer waters. This outing was quite amazing as we were able to spot white-tipped reef sharks, Galapagos fur seals, and a great variety of tropical fish.

In the afternoon, we moved to Puerto Egas to observe one of the most beautiful rocky shores in the Galapagos. We were lucky because the low tide exposed the feeding grounds of the marine iguanas and several coastal birds, including the great blue heron, the yellow crowned night heron, the striated heron, and oystercatchers. In the tide pools we were able to observe several Galapagos sea lion pups playing as well as a few adults of the Galapagos fur seals and yellow warblers feeding. From the rocky shores we could also observe several brown pelicans plunge diving very close to the shore. The timing of the outing was perfect for photography. Around 6 p.m., with the sunset, we returned to the National Geographic Islander.

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About the Author

Luis Vinueza

Naturalist

Luis arrived in the Galápagos Islands for the first time when he was 11 years old in 1983, and from that time on he knew that Galápagos would one day be his home. He returned to the islands in 1995 and spent 14 months camping in a tent. Seven of those months were spent on Española Island, studying the relationship of reproductive success and mate retention of Nazca boobies. In 1997, he started working for the marine lab at the Charles Darwin Research Station (CDRS) on different fields including diving surveys to assess the patterns of marine biodiversity around the Galápagos Marine Reserve. His research included counting lobsters and sea cucumbers and participating as an advisor for CDRS during the negotiation process that led to the 1998 creation of the Galápagos Marine Reserve. 

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