Today we enjoyed the opportunity to explore the uplands of Santa Cruz, one of the largest islands of the Galápagos. The humid zone offers perfect foraging grounds for the giant tortoise; in order to find the tortoises, we travelled by bus from the north of the island to the southern side. We found large numbers of tortoises on the privately owned El Manzanillo Ranch. After a delicious lunch, we returned to our ship and weighed anchor. We had reports that Wolf Volcano, located on Isabela Island, was still active! We navigated for a few hours until we reached the coast nearest to the eruption site; from there, we admired a beautiful red glow against the dark night. What an amazing opportunity to admire the forces of nature that produced these magnificent islands!
National Geographic Endeavour II
Early in the morning, we came ashore to explore Bartolome Island, one of the most iconic places in the Galapagos. In the afternoon, we visited Chinese Hat, a very old scoria crater located at the foot of Santiago, not far from Bartolome Island. Our intrepid guests onboard National Geographic Endeavour II explored the terrestrial and marine worlds of Bartolome and Sombrero Chino. Our day began with an invigorating early morning hike to the summit of Bartolome. We climbed 376 steps to enjoy a breathtaking view from different angles. It was well worth the effort to get to the top! During the Zodiac ride to the disembarkation site, we observed a few seabirds hunting over the ocean, including boobies, pelicans, and noddy terns. Bartolome Island offers a diversity of geological formations, including volcanic ash and a plethora of spatter cones. Guests learned about some of the pioneer plants of the Galapagos, including the endemic lava cactus. Afterward, they explored the marine world surrounding Bartolome, coming face to face with whitetip reef sharks, penguins, rays, and a variety of tropical fish. In the afternoon, guests snorkeled around the coastline of the peculiarly shaped islet, Sombrero Chino. They swam with Galapagos penguins, tropical fish, and reef sharks. We concluded the day’s activities with a peaceful Zodiac ride along Sombrero Chino as we discussed the geology of the Galapagos and the unique wildlife found in the area. Photographers: Christian Saa and Walter Perez