San Cristobal Island

Apr 20, 2019 - National Geographic Islander


The morning was perfect for an excursion ashore. A bit of cloud cover kept the day’s heat at bay. Hikers landed after breakfast and made their way up 320 feet of rise, the first third up through a dry ravine bed, then along a plateau to the outer coast.

Along the way, sharp ridges left by erosional forces (rain) over the eons created a dramatic backdrop. Soaring frigate birds overhead and then – what we were waiting for, the red-footed boobies. Not many, sparse among the trees, but the feet very obviously red. Blue-footed boobies were nesting along the trail. Nazca, the third species nesting in the area, were even further afield at shore, dramatic in their coloration of black and white feather bodies set against deep blue.

Swimming from the beach, beige in color but sparkling in the sunlight with amorphous quartz shards, was a great finale to the morning. Stand-up paddleboards were brought out for five-minute sessions by those who wanted to give them a try, and most succeeded!

The afternoon was spent on the long white beach of Cerro Brujo. Breakers of nice height were coming in. Leon Dormido, originally known as Kicker Rock, cast before the sunset horizon. What a memorable ending to an expedition in the Galapagos Islands!

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About the Author

Cindy Manning

Expedition Leader

Born in Lima, Peru, of North American parents, Cindy and her family subsequently lived in several South American and European countries with a couple stops in Peoria, Illinois. Cindy received a degree in biology from Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana. Afterwards, Cindy spent a year and a half teaching science in the Western Province of Kenya, East Africa. 

About the Videographer

Joshua Vela

Video Chronicler

Joshua is our first Video Chronicler from the Galápagos Islands! He grew up on the island of Santa Cruz where he developed a strong connection with the natural world that surrounded him, and where he learned the importance of conservation.

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