Floreana Island

May 21, 2019 - National Geographic Islander

After smooth navigation from Hood Island, we arrived at Punta Cormorant on Floreana Island. Floreana was the first to be colonized by Ecuador in 1832, quickly becoming a very important one as it had both fresh water and rich farming land. In general it is difficult to find fresh water in the archipelago and only a handful of islands have this precious resource. Floreana once had a population of giant tortoises that were brought to extinction, following aggressive hunting from visiting whalers and buccaneers. Tortoises have since been reintroduced to the Island. Floreana is also home to the world’s oldest passive mail system.

This morning we landed on Punta Cormorant and explored its coastline and a lagoon. There we found greater flamingoes, white-cheeked pintail ducks, and black-necked common stilts wandering this way and that for food. One surprise we observed was a juvenile flamingo swimming off the beach and even for us naturalists that was a very unusual sighting.

For the second half of the morning, we went on a Zodiac coastal exploration around Champion Islet; at this site, we were able to spot Galapagos sea lions, Nazca and blue-footed boobies, and swallow-tailed gulls. Later on, we returned to this same islet to snorkel in deep waters from the Zodiacs; this morning, we found large schools of fish of all kinds and played with the always curious and friendly sea lions.

This afternoon, we headed ashore to a historical site known as Post Office Bay. There we looked inside an old wooden barrel for mail going to the same places our guests live or will visit in the future. This wooden barrel was once the only means of communication with the outside world since the whaling era. We followed the tradition of picking up the mail with the intention of delivery by hand in the future.

Afterward we continued to kayak and ride Zodiacs at La Loberia site, where we spotted several green sea turtles and Galapagos sea lions; many of these being juveniles and their mothers. Soon in Galapagos, we will start the pupping season, and a few males are starting to establish territories. It was very fun to see the curious juveniles playing around our Zodiacs and kayaks, and everybody had an amazing day.

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About the Author

Gilda Gonzalez


Gilda was born in Ambato, located in the very heart of the Ecuadorian Andes. Since she was a child, she loved animals, often rescuing street cats and dogs. Her parents always made sure there were nature books and plenty of Jacques Cousteau’s videos at home. She graduated from high school with a degree in chemistry and biology. Afterwards, Gilda obtained a B.A. in tourism and hotel management in Quito. She also studied English, French and German, later spending two months in Brussels, Belgium.

About the Photographer

José Guerrero

Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

José Guerrero Vela is an Ecuadorian permanent resident of the Galapagos. His mother was born in the islands and his grandfather was one of the first generation of teachers in the Galapagos, which has always inspired him to promote education as the main path to protect the archipelago.

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