Española Island, on the southeastern end of the archipelago is an old shield volcano that is slowly but surely losing the battle against the elements after drifting over 200 kilometers from its birthplace. Moving above of the Nazca Plate, it has drifted so far from its birthplace that it is effectively losing the life force that fuels most volcanic activity in this group of islands. Despite being presently only a fraction of its original size, it is still home to vast numbers of seabirds, as well as an endemic species of mockingbird and lava lizard. During the morning hours, we explored the northeastern end of the island at Gardner Bay and nearby Gardner Islet as well as the western end at Suarez Point during the afternoon.
National Geographic Islander
Today we woke up by the coast off San Cristobal, one of the oldest islands of the Galapagos. After breakfast, we had a Zodiac ride along the shore and then disembarked to visit the Giant Tortoise Breeding Center in the highlands. In the afternoon, we hiked Tijeretas Hill and spotted the San Cristobal mockingbird, one of four species of mockingbirds found in the Galapagos. We also talked about the ecology of dry forests and the adaptations made by different species of trees in order to survive the dry months. At the top of Tijeretas Hill we enjoyed a spectacular coastal view of San Cristobal Island. We ended our day with an amazing performance by local artists on board National Geographic Islander , as guests enjoyed traditional dance and music from Ecuador.