Santa Cruz Island

Sep 25, 2019 - National Geographic Endeavour II


We navigated to the uninhabited side of Santa Cruz. This morning we visited Dragon Hill. This part of the island is completely different from any other area we have seen, the landscape is unique with an arid coast, beaches of white sand, a brackish water lagoon surrounded by forests of giant prickly pear cacti and incense trees. On our walk, we saw the burrows that the land iguanas have dug in the soft soil. The place was full of burrows; undeniably, this is an indicator of a healthy land iguana population. Land Iguanas, as other endemic animals in this island, are threatened by introduced species. It is nice to see the place restored by the efforts of the Galapagos National Park Service, with eradication programs for introduced species and breeding endemic land iguanas to increase their populations.

We kept our day full of adventures with the deep-water snorkel activities; we love to explore the amazing underwater world. Today we drifted with the current along Guy Fawkes Islets, where we saw spectacular invertebrate-covered cliffs, dinner plate-sized starfish, playful sea lions and more. Many of us were looking forward to seeing the natural laboratory, so we headed on board to circumnavigate Daphne Major Islet where Peter and Rosemary Grant did their research for later book The Beak of the Finch. With an amazing sunset, a glass of wine and the ship surrounded by giant manta rays, while some dolphins jumping in the distance, we closed another unforgettable day in paradise with National Geographic Endeavour II.

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About the Author

Africa Berdonces

Naturalist

Africa grew up in the Galápagos Islands where she spent her childhood exploring with her family, surrounded by exquisite nature. She took her first scuba diving lesson with her father off the coast of Sombrero Chino Island when she was just 12 years old. That first dive opened up a new and unexplored part of the natural world to her. Africa became enchanted by local marine life and went on to become a divemaster, working as both a dive guide and naturalist in her beloved islands.

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