Santa Cruz: Cerro Dragon & Eden Islet

Mar 28, 2018 - National Geographic Endeavour II


Early this morning the National Geographic Endeavour II arrived at the northern side of Santa Cruz Island for our morning visit at Cerro Dragon.

We landed on a natural lava “jetty” and then on the trail was a mix of sand, lava, boulders and volcanic ash, as we walked in land we found a family of white cheeked pintail ducks with five chicks that eagerly followed mama around the lagoon looking for food.

Along the trail, we could see many native and endemic plants, like the Palo Santo or sandalwood tree, the Galapagos cotton and the emblematic Opuntia cacti that happen to be the tallest of the archipelago.

Cerro Dragon is known for its population of land iguanas, and as we walked inland, we found 10 large and colorful males and three females, all of them were very close to the trail so we were able to take great pictures of them.

After the hike we went for a well-deserved snorkeling at Guy Fawkes, here we saw white tip sharks, parrot fish, colorful invertebrates like orange sponges and black coral along the wall of the islet.

In the afternoon, we had a kayaking session, the young explorers learned to drive a Zodiac and the rest of us went to explore the coast of Eden Islet. Among the many species that live along the coast are young sharks, great blue herons, blue-footed boobies, marine iguanas and we were lucky to find a bunch of newly hatched iguanas along the cliffs of Eden Islet.

With these unique images in mind, we are sure that tomorrow will be another exiting day in this unique world.

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About the Author

Magdalena Terneus

Naturalist

Magdalena Terneus has always been passionate about nature, and an animal lover ever since she can remember.   Magdalena studied Natural Science- Biology at Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania on a full scholarship, with the idea of working as a naturalist guide in the Galapagos Islands.  After graduating from Lock Haven, she went back to Ecuador and worked in the La Selva Lodge in the Ecuadorean rain forest.   After working in the rain forest, she took the Galapagos guide course, so she could work as a guide in the Galapagos Islands.

About the Photographer

Celso Montalvo

Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

Celso was born in Guayaquil, Ecuador. At the age of nine he arrived in the Galápagos for the first time and he was profoundly touched by nature, observation, and isolation.  When he saw the sharks, rays and turtles swimming in the bay, he was triggered by a sense of wonder that he did not feel before.  Celso believes education is key to preservation. After graduating from the Naval Academy at the age of 17 he moved to New York to continue his education.

About the Videographer

Ashley Karitis

Video Chronicler

Ashley was raised in the foothills of the Cascade Range in Central Oregon. After childhood careers in ski racing, equestrian sports, classical piano, and summer jobs on a dude ranch, she emerged as a unique hybrid of adventuress, hobby farmer, and storyteller. 

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