Today we visited Santa Cruz Island. We spent the day exploring and searching for giant tortoises. In the early morning, we visited the giant tortoise rearing center. We saw the baby giants and learned about the conservation efforts in the archipelago by the Galapagos National Park and The Charles Darwin Foundation. We walked to the fish market in Puerto Ayora and were able to explore part of the town; afterwards, we went to the highlands to experience the process of making sugar and moonshine from sugarcane on a local family’s farm. The last part of our day was walking amongst the giants in their natural habitat. It was definitely an outstanding day.
National Geographic Endeavour II
Today was our last day in the middle of the archipelago before we embark on a journey to the western realm! We visited North Seymour Island in the morning and Rabida in the afternoon. North Seymour Island’s uplifted geology has made the island a bird magnet location. This island is home to magnificent and great frigatebirds, swallow-tailed gulls, and blue-footed boobies. Birds are not the only ones on the island, though. There are also sea lions and two of the most common reptiles found in the Galapagos: land iguanas and lava lizards. As we walked along the trail on North Seymour, we were very fortunate to spot all the species listed. It was amazing to see them right along the trail as they fed their babies, took a nap, or just explored the curious humans that admired them in turn. This is the beauty of the Galapagos: animals behave as if we are not there, which is known as ecological naivety. In the afternoon, we ventured into the ocean for our first snorkeling session. We ended the day by walking along Rabida Island, also known as the red island due to a large amount of iron oxide, which makes this island red in color. One of the highlights of our day was seeing flamingos nesting at the lagoon on Rabida Island. This has not happened in the last 30 years since the lagoon composition changed due to weather events like El Niño. To our surprise and joy, the lagoon has recovered, allowing brine shrimp to return and flamingos to nest again. The Galapagos Islands are always full of surprises, and today we got to see many!