Today we woke up for an early pre-breakfast walk uphill to the top of Bartolome, a satellite islet of Santiago Island. This relatively new island is a good place to appreciate different geological formations such as tuff, spatter cones and basaltic flows. It was a pleasure for me to share my knowledge of geological formation of these islands with our local people. The presence of pioneer plants such as Tiquilia nesiotica and lava cactus makes Bartolome a good place to understand how life started in Galapagos after the first plants stablished on newly formed islands. We also had the chance to explore the underwater world of this place. Having fishermen from the community was an amazing experience as they started finding and pointing species of commercial interest, such as spiny lobsters and sea cucumbers. In the afternoon, we explored the island of Rabida, where one of the highlights were the flamingoes that we found in a lagoon, and sea lions resting at the beach during a beautiful sunset. We ended our day sharing “canelazos,” one of the main traditional drinks of Ecuador.
National Geographic Endeavour II
Today we visited Floreana Island. The island is historically important as the first island in the archipelago to be inhabited by humans. Our day started very early. Early risers enjoyed one of two options: a beautiful, fast-paced walk or a photography walk to explore this wonderful visitor site. Cormorant Point offers one of the most spectacular views on the island and sandy beaches, all on the same walk! We landed at a green sandy beach. After a short walk surrounded by palo santo trees, we arrived to one of the best sea turtle nesting sites on the islands. We enjoyed the company of many diamond stingrays along the shoreline and learned a lot about conservation programs for the island, including an invasive species eradication program. We were very lucky as we observed a single flamingo in the distance and blue-footed boobies very close to our guests. The baby boobies were one of the main attractions. Right after breakfast, we went snorkeling at Champion Islet. This is a spectacular snorkeling site where we snorkeled with lots of playful sea lions, sea turtles, many different species of fish, and even several whitetip reef sharks. The morning was over, but the adventures were just beginning! After a delicious lunch, we explored Post Office Bay and its surroundings by kayak. Countless sea turtles were spotted by our impressed guests, along with the very popular sea lions and a quiet great blue heron looking for food nearby. Later, it was time to follow the tradition of using the oldest mail system in the Galapagos and in Ecuador, the Post Office Bay barrel. Young pelicans accompanied our guests who enjoyed a nice, relaxing time at the beach before returning to our floating hotel, National Geographic Endeavour II . What a wonderful day!