Daily Expedition Reports

Daily reports from our days in the field

  • Genovesa Island

    Today National Geographic Islander as our last day is visiting Genovesa Island. This island has been isolated from the other island and is that is why any land animal could not make it here and it started a paradise for birds. Is here where we can have the opportunity to photograph the red-footed boobies and explore this amazing area kayaking and snorkeling.

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  • Sombrero Chino & Sullivan Bay

    Today we woke up close to a channel with crystal clear water and black lava fields surrounding us. We explored the channel with water activities, first with a kayak and a Zodiac ride outing and then we jumped in the water for some magical snorkeling.

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  • South Plaza Island and Santa Fe Island

    Two fabulous islands with a focus on land iguanas, but also so much more! South Plaza in the morning is a seabird haven. As one walks along the upper trail a few steps back from the cliff edge, all kinds of seabirds catch the updraft and fly by, almost at eye-level. Land iguanas were showing signs of courtship, head-nodding to each other and looking their best. Sea lions lined the lower shore, sleeping, nursing, barking, calling, and bleating.

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  • Bartolome and Santiago Island

    Today, we woke early in the morning to explore of the most famous island of Galapagos, known for its unique topography and moonscape, with many volcanic formations and a legendary iconic monument called Pinnacle Rock.

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  • Charles Darwin Research Station and Highlands

    We awoke to find National Geographic Islander peacefully anchored in the crowded harbor of Academy Bay, of Santa Cruz Island. The bustling town of Puerto Ayora with some 20,000 inhabitants was well awake by the time we disembarked at 8:00 a.m., taking buses to the east end of town. We walked about a half-mile to the headquarters of the Charles Darwin Research Station (CDRS) and the national park. Our naturalists Cindy, Gianna, and Ixora explained about the successful breeding program for endangered species of giant tortoises and we photographed Super Diego, a tortoise from Española Island who has been an excellent breeder. We learned that from a dangerously small total population of 15 adult tortoises which were brought into captivity so they could find one another to mate, there are now over 2,000 tortoises again in the wild on Española.

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  • Dragon Hill and Daphne Major Islet

    Today we navigated towards the uninhabited side of Santa Cruz Island. Some of us went on a pre-breakfast outing to explore a visitor site known as Dragon Hill. After a dry landing, we walked further inland to find the nesting grounds and natural habitat of the Galapagos land iguanas. A couple of shore birds were spotted at a coastal brackish water lagoon, such as black-necked stilts and least sandpipers.

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  • Floreana Island

    Today National Geographic Islander visited three different sites in Floreana Island, each offering a completely different experience. We began with a pre breakfast activity along Punta Cormorant, where flamingos were seen flying all over the lagoon! We also observed many blue-footed boobies. After our visit, we jumped into the water to explore and play with the baby sea lions. Later, we visited Post Office Bay and then we went kayaking or Zodiac riding along the coast. We’ve had a fun-filled day that will stay with us for years to come.

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  • Santa Cruz Island

    Our destination today was the Charles Darwin Research Station at Santa Cruz Island, the second largest island in the archipelago. On our way to the rearing center for giant tortoises, we walked through a very green area full of local vegetation, like the gigantic prickly pear cactus with a trunk-like a tree.

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  • Espanola Island

    Just as it was getting light, National Geographic Islander pulled up to our anchorage for the morning in Gardner Bay, halfway between Gardner Beach and Gardner Islet. I was already up and about, because this morning was our first chance to take kayaks out, and early morning is superb for that! Calm seas, dove-grey skies, marine turtles, sea lions and boobies. Fabulous start to the day!

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  • Floreana

    This morning we woke up anchored at Punta Cormorant, on the island of Florena. We started our morning with an early wakeup call at 6 a.m., and we had two hiking options: a photo walk and a natural history walk. We landed at Punta Cormorant, a semiprecious stone beach made out of pulverized peridotite—very shiny, interesting and beautiful sand. From the shore we spotted several Pacific green sea turtles who might have been nesting at the beach during night. This turtle is the most common one to been seen in the islands. Flamingos were definitely the highlight of our early walk; we spotted more than 50 flamingos at the brackish lagoon. The flamingos in the Galapagos are an endemic sub-species of the American flamingo, with a very little population in the island of only about 500 individuals. They were as close as they could be in this area, and they were a beautiful subject to photograph. We spotted several colorful males and even a parent feeding its baby. Blue-footed Boobies were a great part of our morning as well.

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