Daily Expedition Reports

Daily reports from our days in the field

  • North Seymour & Rabida Islands

    Galapagos is a place of contrasts, and this first full day delivered a perfect introduction to the interesting diversity that exists here. Starting our day at North Seymour Island, we headed out for hikes to explore the inland territories of this small, central island. We encountered an incredible amount of air traffic, as magnificent and great frigatebirds soared overhead on the updrafts of wind coming off the ocean. Brown pelicans were plunge diving, as blue-footed boobies gracefully entered the water with hardly a splash. As we made our way inland among an incense tree forest, we saw multiple land iguanas searching for sustenance—it is currently the peak of the dry season, and food can be difficult to come by.

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  • Genovesa Island

    Genovesa is one of the last, near-pristine islands on Earth. It is located north of the equatorial line of the Galapagos, and it is the remains of an extinct volcano. The southeastern rim has given way to winds and ocean waves, so it is possible for the National Geographic Endeavour II to anchor inside its main caldera. This tiny island is sometimes referred to as Hitchcock Island because it is the home to thousands of birds which can thrive here surrounded by rich, productive waters and a total lack of introduced predators. The total innocence and fearlessness in the eyes of the seabirds that welcomed us human visitors is a memory that will last forever.

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  • Bartolome and Sombrero Chino Island

    A full day in Galapagos consist of 12 hours all year round from 6 am to 6  pm, and we take full advantage of our time to explore this marvelous archipelago.

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  • Santa Cruz Island, Cerro Dragon

    We just as well could have been visiting a different island. In actuality, we visited the same island we had just spent the day before visiting, focused on giant tortoises and the human angle to Galapagos. But that was seemingly ages ago (yesterday), and today we were on the northwest corner of the island, full rain-shadow effect, and dry as a bone. Land iguanas were our focus today, and we were very successful, finding them strategically spaced out around “Dragon Hill”, near either their burrows or their favorite prickly pear cactus, waiting for flowers or fruit to fall within reach. They are very patient creatures and can wait for weeks if necessary.

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  • Charles Darwin Research Station & Highlands

    Today we visited Puerto Ayora, the capital of tourism of the Galapagos Islands. Early in the morning, we stopped at the Galapagos National Park and the Charles Darwin Research Station headquarters. We learned about the conservation efforts to restore several species of giant tortoises, including the species from Floreana that to our surprise is coming back from extinction. The first batch of giant tortoise eggs from Floreana already hatched in January, and we were able to see the little ones in their corrals.

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  • Floreana Island

    Today we landed early in the morning for a pre-breakfast excursion at Cormorant Point where we hiked around a brackish water lagoon and had a chance to observe American flamingoes and blue-footed boobies from up close. Later in the morning, after our ship repositioned, we snorkeled around Champions Islet after exploring the shoreline aboard our Zodiacs. During lunch, we repositioned to Post Office Bay where we delivered our postcards and then had a chance to kayak and stand up paddleboard in a mangrove area teeming with young sharks, rays and sea turtles.

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  • Española Island

    Our first complete day of exploration leaves us with a sense of awe at Española Island. One of our older islands, it appears to be arid and devoid of life at a distance, however, this is far from the truth. The surrounding ocean is highly productive this time of year, allowing for an abundance of life on the island. Galapagos sea lions swim among us as we snorkel along the coast in the morning. On the fine white sand Gardner Bay beach, we have young Galapagos hawks soaring overhead with Española mockingbird’s fliting between us. We leave the turquoise waters behind as we navigate into the afternoon and Punta Suarez. A late afternoon walk allows us to encounter Nazca boobies, red-billed tropicbirds, marine iguanas, sea lions, blue-footed boobies, and the majestic waved albatross. The late glow of the sunset falls upon an albatross feeding its young, with the avian species returning to their nesting areas, a wonderful end to this day.

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  • San Cristobal Island

    Today is our last day in paradise, and of adventures that once seemed unreal. We all bonded as one even though we are from different generations and even centuries, today we are one, the Galapagos brings magic to our souls and minds. Traveling and reaching Fernandina to San Cristobal Islands, the youngest and one of the oldest in the archipelago, on an expedition, a journey of discovery through time.

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  • Santa Cruz Island

    It takes a while for the view to sink in. Human civilization and all its paraphernalia, clustered in a bay, lights on shore if you got up early enough before daybreak. Boats bobbing at anchor.

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  • Santiago Island

    We are back at the center of the archipelago, we have been at the west exploring the new islands and now we have come to an older island, geologically speaking about 2.5 million years old. Early this morning we arrived to Espumilla Beach, located on the west coast of Santiago Island; this bay has one of the most important nesting grounds for green sea turtles. We started our day with several activities. Some of our photographers went for a walk along the beach, taking some great pictures of the wildlife along the way. Others went for a faster hike, while others went kayaking along the cliff in search of seabirds and to admire the impressive geological formations. At this time of the year, sea turtles are starting their mating season, and we have noticed many fresh sea turtles tracks and nests on the beaches.  As we started to walk further along the beach, we also found some seabirds such as oystercatchers, pelicans, and blue-footed boobies diving, Galapagos mockingbirds, and several finches.

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