Santiago Island is very interesting because it has many visitor sites; some of them were used by whalers and pirates. Today we visited three of them. They are not far away from each other, but each one has amazing and unique characteristics for learning about the Galapagos flora, fauna and geology.
National Geographic Endeavour II
Today was our first full day of expedition, and we started by visiting North Seymour Island. This is a small, flat, and windy site where big colonies of marine birds nest. The main species are frigatebirds and blue-footed boobies. This is the beginning of the dry season, so the marine life is starting courtship rituals all around! We walked through a forest of incense trees and dry bush that lost their leaves at the start of the season, as they are deciduous plants. Their greenery will grow back when the wet season returns. The area is also home for a big population of land iguanas, which are now wandering around the whole island in search of food. In the afternoon, we went to the red island, Rabida. We landed on a red sand beach where we enjoyed an amazing first snorkel with sea lions and colorful fish. The contrast with the red sandy bottom makes the fish even more colorful. After our beach time, we explored the inside of the island by following a trail that took us to a brackish water lagoon where flamingos are now nesting. The end of the wet season left behind a couple juvenile and baby flamingos that are still feeding from this lagoon before they can fly around the other islands. We ended our day by hiking to the top of a small hill that offers an amazing view of the lagoon, the beach, and the bay. What a privilege to witness so much life and so much action!