Santiago Island
  • Daily Expedition Reports
  • 09 Dec 2021

Santiago Island, 12/9/2021, National Geographic Islander

  • Aboard the National Geographic Islander
  • Galápagos

Today is our last full day exploring these magical islands. Last night we had a long navigation from the western part of Galapagos to the center, where we find Santiago Island. It is the third biggest island, and it has several visitor sites. This morning we are exploring Espumilla Beach, a very long golden beach surrounded by mangroves and palo santo trees. This is a popular place for marine turtles. As soon as we disembarked at 6:30am, we found turtle tracks on the sand from the night before.

Our day started off a bit cold and foggy, but the sun soon came out. This early in the morning, sea birds are very active. A flock of blue-footed boobies came to dive, like torpedoes, for sardines and salemas, two of their favorite fish. A couple of Galapagos hawks landed on the top of a mangrove tree to preen their feathers, while a black-tipped shark came close to shore in search of its catch of the day.

Afterward, we came back to the ship for our own breakfast as the ship moved to another location known as Buccaneer’s Cove. Here, we went kayaking along the shoreline. The landscape is astonishing, made of cinder material and ash of different colors. Paddleboarding was another activity offered to our intrepid guests, and finally to end the morning, some of our swimmers went to snorkel in the calm bay that forms the cove.

In the afternoon we went to visit Puerto Egas. We landed on a beach of black basaltic sand where colorful crabs scampered and sea lions basked under the warm sun. Some marine iguanas were also warming up after feeding on algae in the cold waters. Walking inland, we entered the arid zone where we found several land iguanas struggling to survive in this desert ecosystem, trying to hang on until Mother Nature sends rain. December is usually the beginning of the rainy season, but it seems delayed.

We ended our day having a cocktail on the sundeck of our ship, contemplating the equatorial horizon where the sun goes own quickly, leaving a magical sky decorated by warm tones of orange and red. Tomorrow, we visit the giant tortoises, the iconic species of the Galapagos, before our guests depart for their journey home, hopefully carrying the spirit of these Enchanted Isles forever.

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