San Cristobal Island

Oct 18, 2019 - National Geographic Endeavour II


Today was our last day in paradise, the adventure seems unreal. Now, we are all bonded together, even though we are from different generations and even centuries: Today we are one. The Galapagos brings magic to our souls and mind. We have traveled and seen Fernandina to San Cristobal islands, the youngest and one of the oldest in the archipelago, on an expedition, a journey of discovery through time.

San Cristobal Island is one of the eldest in the Galapagos. Today we landed on a green olivine beach. The volcanic scenery that we observed during our intense hike was spectacular; the peaks of tuff high in the sky make this site very different from what we have already observed.

Punta Pitt also has impressive scenery from up above – here we could see an impressive view of the clear, sunny sky and the inversion layer, keeping us cool and pleasantly comfortable for this walk. All our senses became aware, as we listened to our surroundings, and searched for red-footed boobies. Today we were lucky to see them up close by the cliff, and even better, there were some blue-footed boobies right at the same place; like a grand finale to this wonderful expedition.

Soon after, we enjoyed beach time and water activities like glass-bottom boat outings, snorkeling and even paddle-boarding. Some of us played with fun sea lions and observed them at the beach. On the paddle-boarding excursion, we went easy but when we turned around to face the current and the breeze, it was a little challenging and fun. From the glass-bottom boat arriving last, we were extremely lucky to be escorted by bottle-nosed dolphins around our Zodiac. What a way to be say goodbye on our last day. The profound feelings we enjoyed on this day are moments that will live in our hearts forever.

Later we repositioned to Cerro Brujo for our last walk over a white sandy beach and turquoise ocean, together with sea lions. It was a wonderful way to say goodbye to the Galapagos. We returned to the ship and repositioned to Kicker Rock, an impressive tuff formation standing massive out of the shoreline, as the sun was setting against the horizon.

We are now together at the bow celebrating life, as a frigatebird flies overhead. We made it to the Galapagos, and it was not easy. There is a deep appreciation to all who come to visit the islands. Statistics say that out the 7 billion humans in this world, only a few make it here. Per year, Egypt sees 11 million visitors, Hawaii sees 7 million, Yellowstone Park gets 3 million, Machu Picchu has 1 million and finally, the Galapagos Islands get 163,000 visitors per year, a fraction comparing to other places, and even fewer children. This is why I say today we were honored to be part of their unforgettable experience and hope one day they would have the will and power to make a positive change in this wonderful world of ours.

Our expedition is now over. Life goes on, but we are now sure this place has changed many lives; a place which can never be fully described. We all came with different backgrounds, different ages, and yet we are now one, sharing this magic which will exist in our hearts and minds forever.

“We must not acknowledge the methodical saying ‘don’t humanize the animals’ but instead ‘animalize the human’ by perceiving our surrounding with all our senses; embracing nature with our sense and by coexistence and respect for one another, so we can become one with nature as we once were.”

—Celso Montalvo

Farewell amigos

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About the Author

Celso Montalvo

Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

Celso was born in Guayaquil, Ecuador. At the age of nine he arrived in the Galápagos for the first time and he was profoundly touched by nature, observation, and isolation.  When he saw the sharks, rays and turtles swimming in the bay, he was triggered by a sense of wonder that he did not feel before.  Celso believes education is key to preservation. After graduating from the Naval Academy at the age of 17 he moved to New York to continue his education.

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