Dragon Hill and Eden Island

Nov 21, 2018 - National Geographic Endeavour II

Last night we navigated around Santa Cruz Island and arrived at Dragon Hill, a very special place where land iguanas are found everywhere. After breakfast at 8:00 am, we disembarked on the black lava rocks, where tons of red Sally Lightfoot crabs and some blue-footed boobies were resting along the shore. Great egrets and blue herons were waiting along the intertidal areas to feed in these pools. As we made our way along the sub-tidal zone, some pelicans and blue-footed boobies were diving to catch fish, and behind the coral beach, we saw a few black-necked common stilts feeding on some microscopic organisms found in the brackish water lagoon. Further inland, we spotted some land iguanas basking under the sand close to their burrows, where they sleep overnight and keep warm. Once we get the summit of Dragon Hill, a breathtaking view was revealed, the panoramic scenery that includes the islands of James, Rabida, Duncan, and Isabela seen far on the horizon. It was a great way to start our day!

After our walk, we came back to the National Geographic Endeavour II, and some of our avid snorkelers suited up and got ready to jump into the water. Our snorkelers found playful sea lions and an immense variety of tropical fish along the shoreline that forms Guy Fawkes islet. This was our lucky day, the water was warm and the sky is shining, the visibility was great and we could see barnacles, sea urchins, and sponges that were covering the perpendicular wall of this snorkeling site.

In the afternoon, we had a nice Zodiac ride along the coast of Eden, which is a visitor site located on the western side of Santa Cruz Island. We enjoyed, discovering many new creatures, including baby black-tipped reef sharks, stingrays, eagle rays, and many marine turtles popping their heads out of the water when they come up to the surface to breath.

Afterward, we motored to Daphne, which is a very old tuff cone standing in the middle of the ocean, not far from Eden. We circumnavigated to see more seabirds and to learn more about the evolution of the islands. Sunset was spectacular, as always, closing on an extraordinary day in Galapagos.

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About the Author

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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