Santa Cruz

Aug 14, 2019 - National Geographic Endeavour II


Today we woke up anchored on the northwest part of Santa Cruz, the second largest island of the archipelago. We enjoyed a delicious breakfast and then went to Dragon Hill to start our daily exploration. Dragon Hill is a tuff cone, which means compacted and pulverized ash. Our hike was in a dramatic landscape, even though it’s the desert there are many endemic and native plants species. In addition, this place is the home and nesting site of many land iguanas (Conolophus subcristatus); we spotted more than a dozen of these individuals and learned about them and their different behaviors.

At this moment they are not in the nesting season, but when the time arrives we are going to find females running away from males, due to the aggressive behavior of the males, and then a few months later the females will be searching for the best site to build their nest.

We came back onboard and got ready for the water activities. Some of our guests went all the way to Guy Fawkes Islets to have a deep-water snorkel. Here we saw lots of colorful fish, some sharks, sea lions, and manta rays. Others went to the beach to enjoy the sunny morning. After we all came back on board, we had one of our guests’ favorite meal of the day, the Ecuadorian buffet with traditional food from all the regions.

In the afternoon, we had a fun Zodiac ride where we went looking for shark’s nursery and blue-footed boobies around Eden Islet. Later, our expedition leader Vanessa gave a very interesting talk about Charles Darwin and by the end of the day, we had a lovely wine tasting while navigating around Daphne Major. It was a wonderful and perfect way of ending the day.

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About the Author

Roberta Schiess

Naturalist

Born and raised in the Galápagos, Roberta Schiess Bahamonde’s grandparents were among the first permanent inhabitants of Santa Cruz Island, arriving from Switzerland in the 1940s. Her mother is also a naturalist guide in the Galápagos, so this is a profession she has been exposed to her whole life, and she often accompanied her mom as she guided visitors. 

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