Santa Cruz Island: Los Gemelos, Manzanillo Ranch & Bachas Beach
  • Daily Expedition Reports
  • 10 Aug 2021

Santa Cruz Island: Los Gemelos, Manzanillo Ranch & Bachas Beach

  • Aboard the National Geographic Endeavour II
  • Galápagos

The morning started with a misty wind, and as we departed to our island expedition the day cleared out. We visited Santa Cruz Island, the greenest of all, from Itabaca Channel to the top of the shield volcano. We experienced the vegetation change from the bottom to the summit of the island, passing through different vegetation zones before visiting “Los Gemelos” sink holes. The cloud forest surrounding these geological formations is surrounded by Scalesia and many other representative species endemic to the Galapagos. Our expedition groups explored the area finding many land birds, including warblers, doves, finches and egrets.

 

Soon after we went to Manzanillo Ranch, a place in the highlands that tortoises visit on their natural migrations when looking for food and mud ponds. On this visit we learned about these prehistoric animals and enjoyed seeing them grazing and walking inside the mud ponds found around the ranch. As part of the display of the restaurant, there are exposed skeletons of the giant tortoises so we could understand their physiognomy by looking through their empty shells.

 

In the afternoon we visited a beautiful white sand beach, an important turtle nesting site. We were surprised by a great blue heron that took advantage of the nestlings that were coming out of the nest, taking them with his beak. His technique consisted of waiting patiently until movement under the fine layer of sand revealed the location of its meal. As we enjoyed exploring the shoreline, the remains of the marine base once established by the area and brackish water lagoons where migratory and shore birds were spotted. After a refreshing swim from the beach, we enjoyed sunset to end a magnificent day.

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