Floreana and Champion Islet

Mar 12, 2019 - National Geographic Islander


This morning National Geographic Islander brought us to Floreana, in the south-center of the Galapagos Islands.

During our pre-breakfast hike we explored Punta Cormorant National Park. After a wet landing at Floreana’s green-tinged sand beach, it didn’t take more than a few minutes hiking inland to spot pink flamingoes occupying a brackish water pond as well as Galapagos flycatchers, endemic carpenter bees feeding on passion fruit, and Darwin finches flying between incense trees. After visiting the lava fields, we came to another beach, this one set in white sand, where eagle rays and sea turtles were swimming just off the shore.

After breakfast, we boarded the Zodiacs to explore the shores of Champion Islet in hopes of spotting Floreana’s mockingbirds and swallow-tailed gulls. (And we did!)

It was time for snorkeling by this point. We saw plenty of colorful fish, white-tip reef sharks, sea stars, sea urchins, and playful sea lions. After that, Post Office Bay—the first functioning post system that was operating in the Galapagos even before Ecuador became an independent republic. The station operates passively, on the goodwill of fellow travelers to deliver the letters guests will leave.

We finished our day with a wonderful panga ride in temperate protected waters, where we saw our first penguin in Galapagos. There it was, sitting on the lava rocks next to marine iguanas and sea lions; our guests couldn’t get over it!

It was just before sunset that we headed back to National Geographic Islander to enjoy some refreshing cocktails off the sky deck. We had a truly fantastic day! Thank you, Galapagos!

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About the Author

Pablo Valladares

Naturalist

Pablo was born in Quito, capital of one of the most biodiverse countries in the world and has been captivated by nature for as long as he can remember.  His mother showed him his first giant tortoise when he was 5 years old and that image remained engraved in his mind.  At age 7, his father gave him a special gift:  a map of the Galapagos with drawings of penguins, sea lions, tortoises, pelicans and more.  Those images inspired him at an early age and led him to study Biology at Guayaquil University.  While at university, Pablo worked as a guide for Environmental Education Camps in the mountains of Ecuador.  Upon completing his degree, he travelled to Puerto Villamil, the small human settlement on Isabela Island to work as a volunteer with the Galapagos National Park Service’s Giant Tortoise Breeding Center for 6 months. During his free time, he also got involved with the Environmental Education Program run by the Charles Darwin Foundation Ecological Club, where he helped run outdoors, nature-based activities with the local children.  This combination of a passion for nature and working with the young eventually led to a full-time job with the Isabela branch of the Charles Darwin Foundation, where he worked for 8 years in different programs supporting Galápagos Conservation. It was during this time that he first learned about Lindblad Expeditions, as he would bring kids from the local ecological clubs on board the National Geographic Islander to perform theatrical pieces about Galapagos conservation issues that they had prepared specifically!

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