Santiago Island

Dec 26, 2018 - National Geographic Endeavour II

Santiago Island is the fourth largest island in the Galapagos archipelago and an optimal sea turtle nesting areas, apparent from the turtle tracks left in the sand from last night. During our dawn landing this morning, the guests were treated to a few pairs of mating sea turtles, bobbing next to our Zodiacs. Upon landing on the golden sand of Espumilla Beach, we were greeted by a couple of Galapagos hawks, the top predator on these unique islands. This high concentration of this iconic raptor is due to the abundant food source of hatchling turtles and an ideal nesting area on Santiago Island. These incredible close wildlife encounters all occurred before our 08:00 breakfast, the beginning of another incredible day in this magical place. Back aboard National Geographic Endeavour II, the guests had breakfast to recharge energies for our next adventure of snorkeling and kayaking around the historic and scenic Buccaneer Cove, well known for a pirate hangout and a place that Charles Darwin spent most of his five weeks exploring these islands.

Kayaking was spectacular, the scenery of the place is amazing with many tuff cones, parasitic volcanoes, and the geology is very impressive. The snorkeling was superb, we found a big school of mobulas feeding on microscopic organisms, school of mullets, steel pompanos, creole fish, sharks, and manta rays. It was an incredible experience to all of us, which happens once in a blue ocean.

Our evening adventure was spent onshore at a wildlife hotspot called Puerto Egas. The backdrop to this panoramic landscape were beautiful red volcanic ciders that flowed to the ocean and the rocky coastline was occupied by many endemic species like the Galapagos fur seals, Galapagos sea lions, and marine iguanas. Our adventurous day was capped off by a spectacular sunset as we made our way back to the beach trail to the Zodiac landing. Santiago Island is one of the true gems of the Galapagos archipelago and one of the highlights of this exciting journey after Christmas.

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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.

About the Videographer

James Biscardi

Video Chronicler

James Biscardi is a young, ambitious professional photographer and videographer. He is always on the lookout for the next big adventure and “telling the story” through film.

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