San Cristobal Island
  • Daily Expedition Reports
  • 28 Dec 2022

San Cristobal Island , 12/28/2021, National Geographic Islander

  • Aboard the National Geographic Islander
  • Galápagos

Early in the morning, National Geographic Islander dropped anchor in front of Punta Pitt. The volcanic scenery was spectacular, with high elevations and many red-footed boobies and frigatebirds gliding in the air. After breakfast we headed to the landing beach; its golden color contrasted with the turquois water and the black bodies of resting sea lions. Walking inland, the trail was wet due to the latest showers, which had formed waterfalls and small rivers a few days earlier. Uphill, the narrow trail climbed an eroded tuff cliff around to the far side of the large, eroded tuff cone. In the distance, we observed many frigatebirds nesting on the trees along the cliffs. We spotted other frigatebirds attacking incoming boobies to steal their food. We heard the unmistakable cries of the boobies trying to escape from the pirates of the air.

 

The flat terrain made our hike easier. We observed many endemic species of plants such as the Galapagos clubleaf, oily pectus, muyuyu, and palo santo trees. The vertical cliffs and the lack of beaches was the pattern along the eastern face of Punta Pitt. This lack of sandy areas forces marine iguanas to go inland to dig nests in the soft soil. We observed many empty burrows and many marine iguanas with their dusty bodies digging new ones to lay their eggs.

 

As we approached the cliffs, the main attraction awaited. Perched on bushes and nesting in trees, many red-footed boobies were seen caring for their chicks or eggs. They delighted us with their brown or white plumage, their blue bills, and fluffy chicks. At a distance, close to the ocean, Nazca boobies nested on the ground or flat rocks, leaving their white guano everywhere. Meanwhile, in the air, frigatebirds and blue-footed boobies glided like kites as they looked for fish.

 

In the afternoon, we sailed west to arrive at Cerro Brujo Beach. As soon we dropped anchor, our National Geographic Global Explorers went for Zodiac driving lessons around the bay. Afterwards we disembarked on the landing beach where some sea lions observed us indifferently as they rested on the soft sand. Here we had the opportunity to relax and practice our photography skills as the light of the afternoon started to get better with the sunset.

 

We came back aboard to circumnavigate Kicker Rock. We saw many seabirds nesting on this gigantic rock jutting into the ocean as the sun set. May we always remember this magical week spent with new friends.

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