Chinese Hat & Sullivan Bay, 6/3/2022, National Geographic Islander
National Geographic Islander
A clear sky received National Geographic Islander in the middle of the islets around Chinese Hat and Santiago Island. The first activity was kayaking along the channel in between Chinese Hat and Santiago Island. We explored the area with Zodiacs and kayaks. We were looking for wildlife, as this site is home for small colonies of Galapagos penguins and sea lions.
In the afternoon, we went hiking on a very young lava flow, just over 100 years old. This lava flow covers a big portion of Santiago Island, and it is a good place for understanding how life started in the Galapagos. We walked around a great area of the flow, finding endemic lava cactus and insect species.
Ramiro is Ecuadorian, born in the highlands and raised by the sea. Growing up in the Galapagos was for him an opportunity to learn from up close the importance of understanding and respecting all forms of life. He started his studies in biology and e...
Today we awoke at Darwin´s Bay near Genovesa Island. This collapsed caldera is a unique place where thousands of sea birds can be observed in different life stages. We disembarked in the morning for a natural history walk at Darwin´s Bay beach where we had a close look of the red-footed booby, one of the three species of boobies that nest in the Galapagos. We also observed Nazca boobies, frigatebirds, swallow-tailed gulls, and lava gulls. We also had the opportunity to snorkel with Galapagos fur seals, the second species of sea lion seen during this trip. In the afternoon, we went for a hike to Prince Phillip´s Steps. We were lucky to spot the short-eared owl, a typically nocturnal species that became diurnal on this island because of the absence of its competitor, the Galapagos hawk. We finished the last full day of the expedition celebrating with a toast onboard National Geographic Islander II .
Today we woke up at Genovesa Island, a small island also known as Tower Island located on the northeastern side of the Galápagos. Genovesa is a protected area and access is restricted to authorized tour operators. The island’s unique birdlife and geology make it a popular destination for ecotourism, and efforts are being made to protect the island’s fragile ecosystem from the impact of visitors. Genovesa Island is a relatively young island in geological terms, having formed less than one million years ago. The island is the remnant of a volcanic caldera, which collapsed and created a horseshoe-shaped bay. The island’s terrain is characterized by steep cliffs, rocky outcrops, and sandy beaches. It is popular due to its unique birdlife, geology, and human history. We started our day visiting Prince Phillip’s Steps, where we encountered two kinds of boobies, Nazca and red-footed. The island is home to the largest population of red-footed boobies in the Galápagos. These birds are known for their bright red feet, which are used to attract mates during the breeding season. Nazca boobies, on the other hand, are known for their distinctive white plumage and black masks. In addition to the boobies, Genovesa is also home to the swallow-tailed gull, lava gull, storm petrel, and the red-billed tropicbird. The island’s unique ecosystem and lack of predators has allowed these birds to thrive and adapt in unique ways. As a fitting finale to the expedition, we also snorkeled with sea lions, kayaked in the caldera, swam at the beach, and enjoyed a sunset cocktail. A wonderful day!
This morning we started our activities with a pre-breakfast kayaking outing to explore the incredible landscape and wildlife at Chinese Hat Islet. After breakfast we took our guests for a Zodiac ride where we spotted Galapagos penguins. This species is unique to the Galapagos archipelago and the only one in the world to live north of the Equator. Afterward we enjoyed one of the best snorkeling sites in the islands, where we encountered plenty of fish and even several penguins. The afternoon offered a relaxing time at Sullivan Bay’s little beach, or a slow-paced snorkel with sea lions in the area. That wasn’t all. Later in the afternoon, we put on hiking shoes to explore Sullivan Bay’s young pahoehoe lava field. What a day!