Santa Cruz and Eden Islands

Jan 17, 2018 - National Geographic Endeavour II


Our morning began at an ancient place known as Cerro Dragon, an incredible site where we can find the endemic Galapagos land iguanas. Unfortunately, due to alien species introduced in the 1970s, the population of these unique reptiles was decimated. However, the population has been recovered due to the successful captive breeding program that is run by the Galapagos National Park Service with the scientific advice of the Charles Darwin Research Station.

As soon as we landed, our explorers were captivated by this fascinating visitor site. Lava gulls, marine iguanas, and flamingos were sighted from the path that led us to the interior of the island. Due to the lack of rainfall, the palo santo and Galapagos cotton were deciduous; mockingbirds as well as Darwin’s finches were collecting nesting material for their mates. Once we reached the dryer area, we finally spotted the dragons of Galapagos—the land iguanas. Due to the intense humidity, these prehistoric creatures were very active and allowed us to get some closed up shots with our cameras. After so much fun on land, we returned to the National Geographic Endeavour II for a quick turnover, before heading out again to enjoy the underwater realm.

Guy Fawkes Islet was our destination for the later morning. Here we had the opportunity to go snorkeling. Snorkeling at this site is quite special. We submerged ourselves once again into the productive waters that surround the Galápagos Islands. A feature that makes the place unique is a steep underwater cliff that drops off to about 150 feet of depth. We saw countless yellow tail surgeonfish, king angels, sea lions and white-tipped reef sharks.

After lunch, we explored the shore of Eden Isle via kayaks and Zodiacs. After the activities, the National Geographic Endeavour II raised anchor to get underway. We spent a great evening sailing around Daphne Major. As the sun went down, we had wine tasting on deck and shared the experiences of the day with our fellow guests.

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About the Author

Ixora Berdonces

Naturalist

Ixora was born in the Galapagos Islands, back when the streets were made of sand and gravel. Void of TV and tablets, her childhood friends and pristine natural surroundings made for an inspiring upbringing. She was always drawn to the ocean and her local environment, with her first adventures taking place underwater, in mangrove estuaries, and perched in treetops. Not surprisingly, she was scuba diving before the age of 12 and led her first diving trips as a Dive Master in the Galapagos Marine Reserve when she was 18. 

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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