Santiago Island

Mar 07, 2019 - National Geographic Islander


National Geographic Islander rode most of the night around Isabela Island and anchored at dawn off Santiago Island. This was a favorite destination for whalers some hundred years ago, and of pirates and buccaneers centuries before that. We set off for pre-breakfast adventuring no later than 0700.

Pablo led a group of kayakers for a longer paddle of about three miles east along the coast. Under the auspices of calm seas and the dramatic landscape, those who went said they had a glorious time. Lenin, armed with a machete, took hikers inland to climbing trail that was as scenic as it was physically demanding. This trail is obviously not frequented often! Socrates led those with cameras down the beach to photograph ghost crabs and the extremely curious large-billed flycatchers.

Snorkeling after breakfast was fabulous! Clear and warm conditions, a multitude of fish, but also white-tipped reef sharks and three species of ray! A small group of guests went on a Zodiac ride with Socrates, and they squeezed into a cool cave to admire resting sea birds.

Our afternoon walk at Puerto Egas began on a black sand beach and took us on a loop trail inland and along the coast thereafter. The stretch we navigated is known as “the fur seal grottos” and is home to a myriad of wildlife, including shore birds, marine iguanas, fur seals and sea lions. A highlight for Pablo was an adorable 12-day-old baby oystercatcher and Lenin’s group returned with a tale of sharks and sea lions fighting over a large amberjack: never a dull moment in Las Islas Encantadas!

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About the Author

Lynn Fowler

Expedition Leader

Born in Baltimore, Maryland, and one of seven children, Lynn grew up in various university towns where her father was a professor of physics. Lynn obtained her B.A. in biology from Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana, followed by a master’s degree in zoology from the University of Florida, which encompassed a study of marine turtles in Costa Rica. She arrived in Galápagos in 1978 and became one of the first female naturalist guides working for the Galápagos National Park.

About the Photographer

Socrates Tomala

Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

Socrates was raised on Santa Cruz Island located in the heart of Galapagos Archipelago.  After a childhood filled with swimming, scuba diving, rock climbing and volunteering in conservation projects, he grew very passionate about the outdoors and the natural world. 

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