Floreana Island

Jan 28, 2019 - National Geographic Endeavour II

In the southern region of the Galapagos archipelago lies Floreana, an island with not only outstanding beauty, but also rich human history. One of Darwin’s landings occurred here, and this is also where Ecuadorian authorities took official possession of the archipelago in 1832. It was home to the first residents to live here.

We began our expedition with a visit to Cormorant Point, where plenty of wildlife resides. Among the most relevant are greater flamingoes, nesting sea turtles and blue-footed boobies. Great chances of animal encounters and landscape photography. At mid-morning, we headed out for Zodiac rides around Champion Islet, just off Floreana. Here we would be looking for the elusive and endangered Floreana mockingbird, which Darwin himself saw for the many on Floreana but after him extinct and struggling survival on this little islet.

Later we explore the same spot this time beneath the waves—a very different world than land, but equally rich, amazing and important.

In the afternoon, we moved to an area called Post Office Bay on Floreana, which whalers and pirates used for hundreds of years to find supplies like fresh water, goats, and giant tortoises for food. It is also the location of an empty wine barrel somebody erected to serve for communications with home. Letters would be left there, and eventually picked up by homebound navigators for delivery. Nowadays, this tradition continues with visitors for the fun of it.

After our hikes, kayaking or hanging out at the beach were offered, allowing for great possibilities of wildlife sightings and photography.

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About the Author

Patricio Maldonado

Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

Patricio, better known as Pato amongst his friends, was born in the Galápagos Island. His family moved to the islands from the mainland and settled on the island of Santa Cruz over thirty-five years ago. Pato had an enchanted childhood in the islands, where his keen interest in the wildlife of the Galápagos was born initially through catching lizards and observing how they lost their tails. His experiences in the islands have led him to teach visitors about the need to protect this rare and unique environment.

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