Santiago Island

May 02, 2019 - National Geographic Islander


Last night we crossed over the equator again: this time waking in the very heart of Galapagos! We found ourselves taking in a bright sunny day on Santiago Island, one which Lindblad Expeditions has adopted, to which funding has been directed to help eradicate invasive species.

We began with an early breakfast and went immediately inland for a nature walk through the forest of Santiago. Some opted for more casual walking along Espumilla Beach with photo instructor Walter Perez, while others still decided to explore the island from kayaks. Options are undoubtedly one of the best parts of this expedition.

What remained of that morning was spent at Buccaneers’ Cove, divided between snorkeling and tours of the surrounding area by Zodiac. Snorkeling afforded intimate bursts of marine life and surprises such as white-tipped reef sharks, king angel fish, razor surgeon fish, among other small fish, and a manta ray as big as our zodiacs!

In the afternoon, we visited Puerto Egas, where we went on a nature walk along the coast and explored the tide pools and portions of the island interior. Here we had close encounters with Galapagos fur seals, a yellow-crowned night heron and Galapagos land iguanas that were just repatriated back on Santiago. Galapagos land iguanas were eradicated from Santiago due to the introduction of invasive species that were in direct competition with the iguana population, and with no checks from predators in place were able to outperform the local population. Recently the same species Conolophus subcristatus was reintroduced from other islands to a place that was once home to their ancestors.

The Galapagos left beautiful memories for our guests and a strong call for conservation to start in their own homes. Our guests are leaving the Galapagos tomorrow, but the Galapagos will never leave them!

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About the Author

Gianna Haro

Naturalist

Most of Gianna´s memories seem to be dreams, made on flawless white sandy beaches with black lava rock contours and gorgeous turquoise ocean waters. Most of it happened while barefoot, in an enchanting place that some people regard as an ideal natural laboratory, the Galápagos Islands. For her it was home. Gianna grew up going to the beach nearly every day, snorkeling in crystal clear waters, playing with wild flowers, having sea lions steal her ice cream, observing marine iguanas, and identifying invertebrates. The latter was by no means technically accurate—she dubbed each new discovery with its own made-up scientific name. At some point during those early years, being an observer became an innate ability and she knew she wanted to be a biologist. 

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