Floreana and Champion Islands

Jun 04, 2018 - National Geographic Endeavour II


Today we landed on Punta Cormorant on Floreana Island, on a beach which has olivine (peridot) as its main component, giving the sand is an olive-green color. The landscape on this island is quite different from other islands—instead of having one or two big volcanoes, it has several cones which fused together to form this island.

During the walk, we saw at least seven pairs of greater flamingoes nesting by the shore of the brackish water lagoon. Several flamingoes were also feeding on brine shrimp, their bright pink color in striking contrast with the surrounding lava flows. By this lagoon we also encountered white-cheeked pintail ducks swimming and feeding on invertebrates. One of the highlights this morning was to observe several pairs of blue-footed boobies engaging in their courtship ritual by the small cliffs along the beach.

On our way to the white organic sand beach, we observed many yellow warblers, small ground finches, and Galapagos fly catchers. Many of these birds were actively feeding and singing all along the trail. As we arrived to the white beach there were diamond stingrays of all sizes, most of which were resting on the ocean floor, very close to the shore.

After we returned aboard, National Geographic Endeavour II was repositioned to Champion Islet. Here we went on a Zodiac ride along the coast, looking for Galapagos sea lions, Nazca boobies, red-billed tropicbirds, and swallow-tailed gulls. Later on the morning we had glass-bottom boat outings, and several of our guests went snorkeling from the Zodiacs, where they had a chance to swim with sea lions, and very large schools of different types of fish.

This afternoon, after a short navigation, we arrived at Post Office Bay, here we went kayaking, paddle boarding and also visiting the wooden barrel where our guests left postcards, following a tradition established by the first whalers to come here—one can leave a post card to be hand delivered by another person, and one can also picks up some cards from previous visitors to hand deliver themselves. After a great time ashore we returned on board and had a lovely dinner.

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About the Author

Gilda Gonzalez

Naturalist

Gilda was born in Ambato, located in the very heart of the Ecuadorian Andes. Since she was a child, she loved animals, often rescuing street cats and dogs. Her parents always made sure there were nature books and plenty of Jacques Cousteau’s videos at home. She graduated from high school with a degree in chemistry and biology. Afterwards, Gilda obtained a B.A. in tourism and hotel management in Quito. She also studied English, French and German, later spending two months in Brussels, Belgium.

About the Photographer

José Guerrero

Naturalist

José Guerrero Vela is an Ecuadorian permanent resident of the Galápagos. His mother was born in the Galápagos and his grandfather was one of the first generation of teachers there, which has always inspired him to promote education as the main path to protect the islands.  

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