Floreana: Punta Cormorant, Champion and Post Office Bay

Aug 14, 2018 - National Geographic Islander


Today we moved south of San Cristobal, to Floreana Island. Floreana is unique for many reasons. One being that this island is rich with human history. It was colonized in the late 1700s by Paul Watkins and later by a series of unique characters that are today remembered as part of a rich history that reflects the difficulties early settlers faced due to the isolation of the islands.

Before 7 a.m. we landed at Punta Cormorant, a beautiful sandy beach with fragments of olivine, a semi- precious stone, which gives this area its unique coloration. A brackish lagoon here harbors a small group of flamingos. These coastal birds originated in Central America and settled on the island. Today there is a population of no more than five hundred individuals who move between islands seeking the right conditions to thrive.

At about 10 a.m. we visited Champion Island, a satellite island in front of Floreana that still harbors a small population of the Floreana mockingbird. We spotted at least three adults of this elusive bird species. Later, we snorkeled around Champion with a bunch of sea lions and also saw a variety of tropical fish.

In the afternoon we moved to Post Office Bay, a historical place and one of the oldest mailing systems in South America, and the world.

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About the Author

Luis Vinueza

Naturalist

Luis arrived in the Galápagos Islands for the first time when he was 11 years old in 1983, and from that time on he knew that Galápagos would one day be his home. He returned to the islands in 1995 and spent 14 months camping in a tent. Seven of those months were spent on Española Island, studying the relationship of reproductive success and mate retention of Nazca boobies. In 1997, he started working for the marine lab at the Charles Darwin Research Station (CDRS) on different fields including diving surveys to assess the patterns of marine biodiversity around the Galápagos Marine Reserve. His research included counting lobsters and sea cucumbers and participating as an advisor for CDRS during the negotiation process that led to the 1998 creation of the Galápagos Marine Reserve. 

About the Photographer

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.

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