We are getting closer to the end of an awesome and unforgettable week in the Enchanted Islands of the Galapagos. We anchored early in the morning at “La Tranca,” a stop for many liveaboard yachts and boats near the Itabaca Channel. After a ten-minute Zodiac ride, we boarded a bus for Manzanillo Ranch, a productive and privately owned farm. As we traveled south, we had the chance to appreciate drastic changes in vegetation. We moved from a coastal, arid zone to a more humid, mist-covered one dominated by Scalesia trees, which are endemic to the Galápagos. Santa Cruz is the only island with six delineated vegetative zones. We noticed the contrast of natural and agricultural land. Finally, we came across the famous giant tortoises! We observed a wide-range of ages, and we were amazed by the tortoises’ appearance. We learned about their lifestyle, their natural history on the islands, their ecological importance, and their interactions with humans. We enjoyed a presentation on the human history of the Galápagos Islands by Omar. Back onboard National Geographic Endeavour II, we headed to Bowditch Bay for some time on the beach.
National Geographic Endeavour II
Today was the second full day of our expedition, and we started activities very early to make the most of it. Right after sunrise, we boarded Zodiacs to explore a very interesting visitor site on Floreana Island. Here, a green sand beach was waiting for us. We learned about different types of sand and why the green color of this beach is so special. As we walked a little farther, we arrived at a brackish water lagoon. Flamingos are often observed here, but today was really special. We found nearly 80 flamingos feeding at the lagoon. This sighting was not only rare but also very exciting! We kept walking and arrived at a beach known as “the flour beach.” The beach has a particular type of sand that is not only white but very fine, like flour. Walking there was a pleasure. We encountered a sea turtle laying her eggs and covering them with sand. We observed diamond stingrays along the shoreline as we walked along the beach. Our next activity was an amazing deep-water snorkel. We observed many species of colorful fish along with one of the largest colonies of sea lions in the Galapagos. The afternoon was equally interesting, maybe even better! We had the opportunity to visit Post Office Bay, the location of the first mailing system on the islands. Long ago, sailors deposited their mail here, and it was collected by other ships passing through on their way back home. Nowadays, the mail system still works the same way. Postcards are dropped off and then picked up by future visitors, who follow the tradition by hand-delivering the mail once they make it home. After this exciting adventure, we enjoyed the clear and warm waters at the beach. Today was another great day in this little piece of heaven on earth.