Cerro Dragon and Daphne Major

Dec 05, 2018 - National Geographic Endeavour II


Today we arrived at Cerro Dragon on the northwestern realm of Santa Cruz Island. This morning we went ashore after breakfast, and although it seemed as if rain was a possibility, the sky cleared a bit and we had a great time during our outing.

Our photo team as well as natural history groups went ashore and had a great time photographing wildlife. We were specifically looking for Galapagos land iguanas and land birds. We are starting to experience the change of seasons, so in a few weeks, the vegetation will have leaves and flowers. This will bring more food for land birds and the mating season will start immediately thereafter.

After the hiking groups departed, we went out for a Zodiac ride with some guests to explore the coast of Guy Fawkes Islets and Santa Cruz Island. We got a chance to see Nazca boobies, brown pelicans, red-billed tropic birds, and a big surprise: a short-eared owl sitting on top of a rock. This is the first time I have seen this species of bird in this area.

As everybody returned aboard, we went out for snorkeling in deep waters, and on the way, a very large school of tuna was feeding; the water around the area looked as if it was boiling, due to all the fish splashing. Our guests also had the option of going to a nearby beach, and it was a great chance to explore the underwater realm.

Today our galley team prepared a typical Ecuadorian lunch, representing the different regions of our country. After lunch, we had a series of talks about different subjects, as well as a documentary about Daphne Major islet and its impact on the research of Darwin finches.

Towards the end of the afternoon, we arrived at Daphne Major, just in time for sunset. As we were navigating around this islet, one of our guests spotted some bottlenose dolphins. These playful dolphins approached our ship, giving our guests the opportunity to watch them play and dart through the water.

We left Daphne Major behind and headed towards Bartholomew Island, and the adventure continues…

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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.

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