Floreana Island

Jan 16, 2018 - National Geographic Islander


Floreana is the most historical island in Galapagos because the colonization started here, and also it is the place well known for the occurrence of mysterious and tragedies of several events among its early inhabitants, just to mention one is that of a woman from Germany that came to live here with three lovers, which came with her from Europe, one day she and one lover disappeared without trace, others follow the same path of tragedy. Ecuador annexed and claimed the Islands in 1832, three years before Darwin arrived to Galapagos.

Before breakfast we headed into the beach for a short hike through a greenish-brown sandy beach with some olivine crystal consider semi-precious stone and a brackish water lagoon with Greater Flamingoes, noble inhabitants of this paradise usually in the company of pintail ducks and others migratory birds.

The trail ended at a white coralline sandy beach where green sea turtles nest through the year and where diamond rays concentrate by the dozens along the shore under the breaking waves, sally light -foot crabs splashing the dark lava with color.

Back on board for breakfast we started to navigate shortly to a small Island called Champion where we disembark for a zodiac ride for the search of interesting wildlife such us sea lion, boobies, swallow tailed gulls, brown noddies, red billed tropic birds and others like an elusive bird called Chatham mockingbird which became extinct on the main island due to predation by introduced animals. Finally, we saw four of them, and I exclaimed “mission accomplished!” and we returned back to our ship.

After few minutes, having time just to suit up to get ready for another exciting activity: SNORKELING at one of the best destinations to do so as large schools of fish are found, to mention just a few, parrot fishes, king angel fishes, invertebrates, echinoderms and others, but what we enjoyed the best was swimming with sea lions which entertained us almost all throughout the session. Great morning.

The other destination we visited in the afternoon was Post Office Bay; here a wine barrel supposedly erected by 1790’s by a whaler and has   been used to facilitate communication with home as they were away for some years.  We still follow the tradition so what we do is writing postcards, take them there, put in the barrel, and another fellow traveler going the same way will hand deliver it.

Additional activities were doing a Zodiac ride around mall Island where lots of sea lions and birds and turtles hang out, we found a Galapagos penguin standing on a rock to the surprise of everyone. Also some of our intrepid guests went to walk in lava tunnel that at the end has water from the ocean, to be in this geological formation is quiet a great experience; inside is dark and quiet, peaceful and astonishing. Kayak and paddle boarding were offered to our guests. The exploration on these marine vehicles is just fantastic. When you are standing up on a paddle board, one has the opportunity of observing turtles, rays, fish and to enjoy of the amazing wild life and landscapes.

The sky started to turn orange and reddish, indicator that sunset is coming soon. Indeed! It happened, in few minutes’ dusk came; we enjoyed from the sky deck just tasting some wine and looking at the first stars of the night.b

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About the Author

Christian Saa

Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

Christian was born on the island of Isabela in the Galápagos archipelago. He grew up on a farm and had a magical childhood devoid of cars, electricity, telephones—just pure nature and playful sea lions along the beach. At the age of seven, he moved with his family to Santa Cruz Island, the economic hub of the Galápagos Islands. His father began to work in tourism and took Christian around the islands during school vacations. It was during this time that Christian learned to love and understand the real value of this unique archipelago, and he decided to devote his life to its stewardship. A lifelong passion for nature and its creatures took root in his heart, and he eventually decided to become a naturalist, which he has now been doing for 18 years now.

About the Videographer

Julio Rodriguez

Video Chronicler

Born and raised in Ecuador, the son of Spanish and American parents, Julio developed a passion for storytelling and conservation at an early age. After majoring in history at Carleton College in Minnesota, and completing a thesis on the Basque anti-Franco movement, he taught English in Spain and made short promotional films for an energy efficiency company in India and two environmental conservation NGOs in Greece and Galápagos. These experiences gave him some amazing travel opportunities and strengthened his resolve to support environmental protection.

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