Aug 09, 2018 - National Geographic Islander
Today we explored the central island, which is named Santiago in Spanish (and James in English). This island was briefly inhabited in the mid 1900’s and hence has had a history of conservation problems caused by both feral animals and invasive plants. In the early 2000’s, pigs and goats were eradicated from Santiago. Getting the Himalayan blackberry under control, which is rampant in the highlands, is a much bigger challenge for the future. Our visits today were along the coast and we only saw the beauty of Santiago; the battle against invasive plants is being fought in the highlands.
At Espumilla Beach, we had three pre-breakfast options: kayaking, a scenic climbing hike, or a beach walk. Everyone who went out enjoyed the sunny and cool breezy weather. We saw plenty of birds, crabs, and other wildlife. We were ready for our bountiful buffet meal when we returned to the ship! Snorkelers and Zodiac rides departed mid-morning. We explored the famous Buccaneer’s Cove and admired the rock formations above and below the water. The water had good visibility, and there were tons of schooling fish to observe. Sea lions frolicked around us and a few fur seals were hiding in the caves on shore. We saw white tipped reef sharks, huge bump headed parrots, and blue-footed boobies diving for schools of black striped salema.
In the afternoon following lunch and siesta, we took the kids (and beach-loving adults) to play on the black sand at Puerto Egas. Later, everyone headed off for a walk to the fur seal grottos. To complete a fabulous day, we enjoyed a barbecue dinner on the sky deck!
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