We left behind the west of Galapagos and we moved back to the central part of the archipelago, to visit Santiago Island. Santiago, also known as San Salvador (or as the ancient whalers and pirates called it, James Island), is one of the largest Islands of the archipelago. A shield volcano from this island created beautiful landscapes with all kind of geological formations. Tuff cones, formed by the rapid interaction of hot lava and water are visible on the eastern and western sides of the island. Santiago offers a great diversity of places to explore that can hypnotize and produce an inspiring experience. Before breakfast, we started our first activity visiting Espumilla Beach. This is a dark sand beach surrounded by mangroves used by the Pacific sea turtles for nesting. The place is quiet and relaxing, and we had time to identify Darwin finches and get a good close look at a Galapagos hawk. Meanwhile, some of our guests preferred kayaking along the shore. After a delicious breakfast, the kayaking adventure continued while others went deep water snorkeling and spent time identifying underwater creatures from the glass bottom boat along crystalline waters.
As soon we came back, we repositioned the ship to our next destination, Puerto Egas. Here we disembarked on a black sandy beach. Some of our guests decided to spend all afternoon swimming there with the playful Galapagos sea lions. They had a blast snorkeling along the shore, exploring the underwater world of Santiago Island. Late in the afternoon, we all went to explore inland. We could spot different kinds of land birds among the branches of trees, singing and standing close to us with no fear. We did spot the yellow land iguana, wonderful to see since they once left the island due to introduced species, but were brought back in January 2019 by the Galapagos National Park Authority after more than 100 years. We also walked along the coastal zone, where the landscape changed radically. There were spectacular tidal pools with marine iguanas, shorebirds like great blue heron, American oystercatchers, whimbrels and sanderlings. At the farthest point of the trail, we witnessed a colony of fur sea lions. After this beautiful day exploring Santiago Island, we have a perfect sunset light. We celebrated this amazing day with a BBQ at the sky deck! It was another wonderful day in paradise aboard National Geographic Endeavour II.