Today is our first full day exploring the Galapagos archipelago with the local community as our guests. Many of them are seniors, farmers, fishermen, and homemakers who have not had the opportunity to explore the islands before. This is indeed a unique experience for everyone, we have learned from each other so much while we having fun visiting the islands.
Today we visited Floreana Island. Before breakfast, we went ashore on Punta Cormorant, with a fascinating beach of olivine sand. Here we walked along a large salt pond where we spotted a few flamingos in the distance. The trail, surrounded by endemic and native vegetation, reminded us how the pioneers of Galapagos used some of the vegetation as medicine to survive harsh conditions. The trail led us to a second beach of incredibly fine, white, coralline sand that serves as a favorite nesting site of green sea turtles.
After breakfast, we repositioned the ship near Champion Islet. We explored the islet by Zodiac, admiring eroded volcanic cone with rocky shores while looking for sea birds and Galapagos sea lions. This islet is home to the remnant population of the Floreana mockingbird, which is extinct on the rest of the island due to cats, rats and other introduced predators. The rest of the morning we had fun exploring the underwater world with the glass bottom boat or by snorkeling.
Following lunch, we had a lecture to learn about the natural history of the Galapagos, which was also a wonderful time to share our knowledge and experiences from back in the day. Later in the afternoon, we visited the famous Post Office Bay. We kept the tradition alive, sending some post cards to our family members. We continued with our exploration of the bay by Zodiac, kayak and even a hike to the Baroness’s lookup point.
We are back onboard just in time for sunset. Crewmembers have prepared us a delicious wine tasting, while we enjoy the magnificent scenery. Our conversations are full of gratitude, not just because we feel fortunate to live in such an incredible place, but to be exploring it with National Geographic Endeavour II is truly a unique experience for all.