Floreana Island

Feb 12, 2018 - National Geographic Endeavour II

Floreana is a very famous by its mysteries and legends; it is because many human stories happened here, since the era of the pirates, early buccaneers, settlers, and even when Ecuador claimed the archipelago in February 12 of 1832. Today is a big day that celebration, and by coincidence today is Darwin’s birthday, Charles Darwin was the most important and famous visitor that came to Galapagos 3 years later of the claiming, it is at 1835.

Early in the morning we disembarked, to visit Punta Cormorant; a great area at the north side of Floreana; the first highlight is the greenish color of the sand; this place is a big concentration of peridotite, a glass common in basaltic rocks. Secondly is the big brackish water lagoon with many flamingos, they are very pink in their colorations because of the very nutritious shrimp to eat to survive; suddenly we saw up in the air a flock of them flying at the blue sky.

At the beach, there is a very small cliff made of ashes and pebbles from volcanic material; on the top of it, we found many blue-footed boobies nesting and having their rituals to fall in love. It is a very interesting court-ship to watch, in which they show their feet each other and spread their wing off as part of the ceremony. Pelicans also were fishing around, while some frigates very high into the sky were waiting to steal any piece of food. The morning was very productive and then we went back on board to have breakfast. Later we went to explore Champion Islet, place and home of the last dozens of Floreana mocking birds that still surviving in this small landmass; from the main island of Floreana they extinguished many decades ago by the introduction of feral goats that nowadays are not there anymore. To see these creatures is a very hard task but this time we were lucky and we spotted two of them. After our zodiac ride we jumped to the warm turquoise water to snorkel with sharks, sea lions, moray eels, a hundreds of multicolored tropical fishes; the experience of swimming with sea lions is unique; they are so friendly and playful with our intrepid guests that are astonished of having this National Geographic moment at the ocean.

In the afternoon we moved to post office bay, not far away from the morning place; here we explore bays surrounded by mangroves and small islets; some of our guests went to kayak and other preferred paddleboards to enjoy the place. They encounter schools of golden and eagle rays, sharks, many green pacific marine turtles and some sea birds diving around. All of us disembarked at post Office beach and walked a bit in land to hear the great story of this bay, where in 1793, a sailor placed over there a wooden barrel as post office, being the first mailing system of south-America, and nowadays still working as a tradition with thousands of people visiting the Galapagos every year.

The system is to find a postcard near the place you live and take with you back home, once there you have to hand deliver the letter, a great way to make new friends around the world.

At the end of the day, we returned to the Endeavour; the light on the sky was magical, the memories were unforgettable. Galapagos is a place that amazed every day, a new surprise, a new experience, a new miracle of mother earth. 

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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

David Pickar

Video Chronicler

David Pickar is a native of Portland, Oregon. He studied anthropology at the University of Oregon, then spent several years working as a field archaeologist. Participating in excavations in countries like Jordan, Belize and Italy and in every corner of the US, allowed him to witness culture and the environment from an unusual perspective.

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