Early this morning, we hiked Punta Pitt, which is an imposing tuff cone on the northeast corner of San Cristobal Island, once known as Chatham Island. San Cristobal is one of the four inhabited islands of the archipelago, and the first island visited by Charles Darwin in 1835.
The volcanic moonscape at the top was worth the effort. We hike from the beach, to the summit, following a dry stream bed with impressive views of the geological features and a unique landscape of patches of red and green colors from the Sesuvium and Nolana Galapagensis. Here is one of the few places where the third species of boobies, the red-footed boobies, can be seen, and today we were lucky enough to see many of them building their nests or incubating eggs.
After the hike, everybody enjoyed the beautiful golden-colored beach and the refreshing green turquoise waters. We were even joined by some male sea lions that where casually napping on the beach all around us.
In the afternoon, the National Geographic Endeavour took us to a different location, Leon Dormido, once a volcanic tuff cone, located near the southwest tip of the island. We had the chance to go snorkeling this afternoon, and our guests were very excited, because this is where we would experience the underwater life for the very last time on this voyage. We jumped in the water in the search of sharks and sea turtles, and despite the current and choppy conditions, we were able to see these amazing creatures in their natural environment.
After our last snorkel of the week, as the sun began to set, the National Geographic Endeavour took us around this imposing formation, where lots of frigate birds, Nazca boobies, blue-footed boobies and red-billed tropic birds nest every year when conditions are good. The view of Leon Dormido and the big island of San Cristobal Island were fading away into the dark as the sun began to disappear at the horizon, and we gathered on deck as new friends to share memories of this great week, here in the magical islands.