May 22, 2019 - National Geographic Endeavour II
This morning we had an adventure at Cerro Dragon, which is at the northern part of Santa Cruz Island. The main objective of this hike was to find the Galapagos land iguana, and we walked on all types of substrates like lava rocks, white sand and red soil that was dry like clay, to get to the arid zone where these creatures like to hang out.
Along the trail, we saw beautiful yellow cotton flowers endemic to Galapagos, a few small and medium beak inches, Galapagos mockingbirds were also along the trail looking for insects. The trail was clean, nonetheless, the entire area was covered with ground plants that made a little bit difficult to find the land iguanas. We did find a few iguanas here and there, some more colorful than others and some more skittish, which made it harder to take pictures of them.
After the walk, we had an excellent snorkeling outing at Guy Fawkes rocks. The water was extremely clear and there where large schools of salemas, king angels, parrotfish and the invertebrates along the wall added so much color, it was incredible.
In the afternoon the National Geographic Endeavour II repositioned to visit El Eden islet, where we had a few choices for activities, including kayaking, Zodiac riding, and Zodiac driving lessons for the young explorers. Along the coast of Santa Cruz, we saw a few great blue herons, as well as many brown pelicans that were resting on the mangroves. The highlight of the afternoon was the young black-tipped reef sharks that were inside the mangrove covered coves.
Finally, we sailed to Daphne Major for an incredible circumnavigation around this small tuff cone. This small islet is home to Darwin finches, studied by scientist Peter Grant, as well as Nazca boobies, frigatebirds, blue-footed boobies and red-billed tropicbirds. As we sailed around Daphne Major, we had a marvelous wine tasting with an incredible sunset to end a great day.
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