San Cristobal Island

Nov 16, 2018 - National Geographic Endeavour II

Today is our last day in paradise. This adventure has seemed almost unreal, we all bonded as one, even though we are from different backgrounds, as the Galapagos brings magic to our souls and mind. We have travelled all the way from the youngest island in the archipelago, Fernandina, to one of the oldest islands, San Cristobal islands, on an expedition a journey of discovery through time.

Today we started the day with a landing on a green olivine beach at San Cristobal Island. The volcanic scenery that we observed during our intense hike was spectacular; the peaks of tuff high in the sky make this site very different from what we have already observed so far on our expedition. Punta Pitt also has impressive scenery from up above – here we could see clear sunny skies and occasionally the inversion layer, which kept us cool and pleasantly comfortable for this walk. All our senses become heightened as we listened to our surroundings, searching for red-footed boobies. Today we were lucky to see them very close. Soon after, beach time we played with fun sea lions and observed them playing at the beach.

Today was particularly special for me since it is our last full day sharing this wonderful place with my sister and brother-in-law, who are on their honeymoon. The bonding of profound feelings while enjoying this day, this moment will live in our hearts forever.

Later we repositioned to Cerro Brujo for our last walk over a white sandy beach and turquoise ocean, lined with sea lions. What a wonderful way to say goodbye to the Galapagos. Then we returned to National Geographic Endeavour II and passed by Kicker Rock, an impressive tuff formation standing massively out of the shoreline, as the sun was setting far on the horizon.

We are now together on the bow celebrating life, as a frigatebird was overhead as if saying good-bye. We made it to the Galapagos and it was not easy. There is a deep appreciation to visitors, especially to the children, who actually travel to the islands. Statistics say that out the 7 billion humans in this world, only a few make it to the Galapagos—in contrast,  Hawaii will receive 12 million visitors, Yellowstone Park will see 3 million, Machu Picchu 1 million visitors and finally, Galapagos islands 204,000 per year. That is why I say, today we were honored to be part of their unforgettable experience, and we hope one day they would have the will and power to make a positive change in this wonderful world of ours.

Our expedition is now over; life goes on, but we are now sure this place has changed many lives; a place which can never be fully described.

Farewell amigos.


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About the Author

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

James Napoli

Video Chronicler

Jim was born in rural New England where he quickly developed an appreciation for the outdoors and a love of exploration.  Four years with the U.S. Navy further enhanced his appetite for travel. Always interested in the visual arts, he studied Television at Boston University and Northeast College of Communications, landing his first job in the industry working as an editor at a Boston television station. His wanderlust drew him to a job with two major cruise lines; installing and managing broadcast centers onboard a total of over a dozen ships. He has since moved on to specialize in expedition travel and wildlife productions.  

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