Mar 21, 2019 - National Geographic Islander
Today’s pre-breakfast outing led us to explore the brown sandy beach of Santiago. Espumilla. The area is marked by a thick green band of mangroves along the bank, which harbors an abundance of finch and mockingbird species. It was during this walk that we encountered ghost crabs, several American Oyster catchers, and a Pacific green sea turtle making its way back to the ocean after having laid and buried its eggs in dry inland sand.
Some went hiking, some opted to further explore the rich coastal geography by kayaking along the rust-colored cliffs of Santiago.
We returned to the ship for breakfast, and before we knew it were on Zodiacs heading back out for deep-water snorkeling along the coast of Buccaneers Cove. This was the right place to witness large variety of fish, swim with a couple of playful sea lions, and even spot several Galapagos and blacktip reef sharks!
After lunch, we navigated towards Egas Port. After a wet landing we went on a magnificent hike along the coastline full of eroded lava fields, tuff formations, and sandy patches. Many shore birds were spotted, including whimbrels, oyster catchers, striated and great blue herons as well as an abundance of sun-loving marine iguanas.
One of the highlights of those hiking was coming across a small colony of Galapagos fur seals playing within grottos where the ocean came in and the water was calm. Such spaces are perfect for fur seals to lounge around until they fish in the evening.
Geology, nature, and lighting were all perfect as the sun was setting as we made our way back to National Geographic Islander.
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