Floreana Island

Jun 18, 2019 - National Geographic Islander

Floreana Island is also known as the Mystery Island due to its location in the archipelago. It was once an ideal location for the whaling industry and, in the 18th century, Floreana became its base camp. The Ecuadorian government decided to colonize this island thanks to its permanent fresh water supply and fertile soil.

The morning offers the best light for photography, so we had a pre-breakfast outing. We landed on a green-olivine beach in Punta Cormorant and observed so much wildlife—a small colony of sea lions, nesting blue-footed boobies, and, in a lagoon behind the beach, we saw flamingos. These birds are a recent arrival to the Galapagos. We also we visited an active nesting sea turtle site.

Later we navigated to Champion Islet. Due to predation by introduced animals, some bird populations have decreased in the Galapagos. Here we were able to see the last population of Floreana mockingbirds. We explored this area on Zodiacs, which allowed us to take wonderful photos of these as well as other unique birds. Champion Islet also offers great snorkelling and an abundance of fish that attract playful sea lions and other creatures.

We then navigated to Post office Bay. Charles Darwin landed here and explored the area in 1835 during his worldwide voyage. Following in this spirit, we too explored the bay, and we found turtles, rays, and sea lions everywhere. As a final touch to the day’s exploration, our guests kept the old tradition of delivering postcards left by other travellers—a personal service that started hundreds of years ago!

On our return to the ship, we celebrated the day’s activities by having a wine tasting on the open sky deck.

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About the Author

Patricio Maldonado

Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

Patricio, better known as Pato amongst his friends, was born in the Galápagos Island. His family moved to the islands from the mainland and settled on the island of Santa Cruz over thirty-five years ago. Pato had an enchanted childhood in the islands, where his keen interest in the wildlife of the Galápagos was born initially through catching lizards and observing how they lost their tails. His experiences in the islands have led him to teach visitors about the need to protect this rare and unique environment.

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