Daily Expedition Reports

Daily reports from our days in the field

  • Genovesa Island

    Tower, or Genovesa, is home to over one million seabirds. Our highlights here were diverse, from Nazca, red & blue-footed boobies and gulls to owls, fur seals, hammerhead sharks, turtles and manta rays.Our adventure began with a wet landing on a white coralline beach inside Darwin Bay, named by a celebrity visitor, William Beebe, in honor of the great naturalist who re-directed human thought, Charles Darwin. At low tide and over a platform, we walked surrounded by birds of all kinds, their chicks, behavior, and colors. We were first moved by so much seabird activity – parents taking care of juveniles, hoping one day they can fend for themselves. Naturalists were also very excited that our guests were able to see many male great firgatebirds and red-footed boobies in this northern hemisphere island which has a very different ecology than any other. When we reached our hike’s turning point, we were surprised by the low tidal access to a larger platform.

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  • Sombrero Chino & James Islands

    We woke up early this morning in the central part of the archipelago, anchored near the small but impressive island of Sombrero Chino. Sombrero Chino is home to an incredible underwater landscape where black lava meets white sand. There was great visibility, so we eagerly anticipated close encounters with species like penguins and of course fish, and fishes (the plural when referring to different species). Our activities varied with choices like pre- and post-breakfast kayaking, walks, strolls along the beach, paddleboarding and even deep-water snorkeling, which was fantastic. We were extremely happy to see so many fish, sea lions, and even Galapagos penguins jetting right through our snorkeling group. The water temperature was 79 degrees Fahrenheit, with excellent water visibility, and a calm ocean with almost no current. All in all, an exceptional (and fun!) underwater environment.

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  • Darwin Bay and Prince Phillip Steps

    After breakfast, we had a wet landing to explore Darwin Bay. As soon as we got to the site we encountered hundreds of red-footed boobies, some of them nesting on red mangroves, others looking for nesting material to build their nests in trees.

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  • Bartolome and Chinese Hat

    Today we woke up on the island of Bartolome. The excursion on this island started early and we had the chance to see the sunrise before we landed. The hike to the summit was wonderful, nice weather and a great view from the top. After breakfast, some people enjoyed a nice time on the beach and later, everyone went for a snorkeling session. We saw penguins, sharks, reef fish, rays, and more. In the afternoon, we started with another snorkeling session, followed by a Zodiac ride around Chinese Hat. We had a great day here in the Galapagos Islands.

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  • South Plaza & Santa Fe Islands

    The day began with an early pre-breakfast disembarkation at South Plaza Island. Our first wildlife encounter came in the form of playful sea lions found in nearby pools. We then saw Galapagos land iguanas along our trail, this was followed by several seabirds such as swallowtail gulls, magnificent frigate birds and red bill tropicbirds.

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  • Cerro Dragon, Eden Islet and Daphne

    Today we woke up along the northwest coast of Santa Cruz Island, in an area known as Dragon Hill. This place earned its interesting name in honor of the land iguanas that live along the coast of this arid zone. When we arrived at the rustic dock made of basaltic rocks, we noticed local vegetation covered by green leaves and flowers, announcing the middle of the rainy season. The opportunity to see this change of native vegetation only happens between December and May.

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  • Floreana Island

    We woke up for an early pre-breakfast hike at Punta Cormorant on Floreana Island. This was a great walk where we found flamingoes feeding in a lagoon and fresh green sea turtles tracks from nesting females that came to the beach last night. We spent the rest of the morning snorkeling along the shore of Champion Islet where the visibility was amazing and we could observe the wildlife under the ocean. In the afternoon, we explored Post Office Bay by kayak, while some guests went to spend the rest of the afternoon on relaxing shores.

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  • Puerto Ayora and the Highlands

    Guests onboard National Geographic Endeavour II spent the day exploring the island of Santa Cruz. We spent the morning in the port town of Puerto Ayora and the afternoon in the highlands, two very distinct zones of the island. We kicked off the day at the Charles Darwin Research Station, where we discussed some of the important investigations being done to help better understand and protect the islands. The Charles Darwin Research Station was established around the same time as the Galapagos National Park. This research station is in a special position to directly inform the Galapagos National Park on all matters of natural ecosystems within the archipelago – as well as human communities – and aid in bringing forth management policies. The giant tortoise captive breeding center is a highlight at the research station. We visited the corrals where juvenile giant tortoises live out the first years of their lives before being repatriated to their home islands. While most of the breeding and incubation of these species are done in the wild, this program has been incredibly instrumental in repopulating some of the most decimated of giant tortoise species. After our visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station, we journeyed up into the highlands of Santa Cruz island.

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  • Espanola Island

    March is when many animals in the Galapagos are mating or reproducing; everywhere you go, you see baby sea lions, fledgling finches, juvenile Nazca boobies, iguanas digging a hole to nest etc. Our week commences with all these features, and we are eager to explore the enchanted islands. We began by visiting Española, one of the oldest islands of the archipelago. Espanola is also one of the most beautiful islands of the Galapagos. National Geographic Islander anchored at Gardner Bay, surrounded in turquoise waters and two sandy beaches. After breakfast our guests were informed on water activities, then at 9:30 a.m., one group of guests went deep water snorkeling around Gardner Islet, while another group went to the beach where a big group of Galapagos sea lions and Española mockingbirds welcomed them. We had a lot of fun during our various outings; the Galapagos has unique animals found nowhere else, and because there is no fear of humans, visitors can enjoy this wildlife very closely.

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