We visited South Plaza Island after a dry landing and set out to walk through an opuntia cactus forest. Yellow land iguanas guarded the base of every tree as it is their only source of nourishment during the dry season. Here, we spotted hybrids of male marine iguanas with female land iguanas. Wildlife was found in all directions: We walked along a cliff toward a Galapagos sea lion bachelor colony and observed swallow-tailed gulls, blue-footed boobies, frigate birds and red-billed tropicbirds. After breakfast we swam in the canal between Santa Cruz and North Plaza Islands. For our final activity we had a wet landing in Santa Fe, which lies southeast of South Plaza. We enjoyed a kayaking excursion and saw the endemic yellow Santa Fe land iguana. It was a fun-filled day and we look forward to more wildlife tomorrow.
National Geographic Islander
Our visit to Bartholomew Island started early in the morning. The tiny island showed incredible volcanic formations, and guests aboard National Geographic Islander enjoyed the landscape photo opportunities. Starting on the dry landing and all the way to the top (374 feet), we discovered spatter cones and lava bombs. After hiking up 365 stairs, we reached the summit of the volcano. The view of Santiago Island, situated in front of Bartholomew, was breathtaking and perfect for pictures. In the afternoon, we had the opportunity to snorkel near Guy Fawkes Islets. An eroded volcano offered the perfect habitat for different species of fish and marine invertebrates. Following the water activities, we got ready for a hike at Dragon Hill on Santa Cruz Island. A dry landing on a rocky pier led us to a dry vegetation forest. Plenty of palo santo trees and prickly pear cacti made an ideal trail for land iguanas. Land iguanas, vegetarian reptiles of pale-yellow and brown coloration, are one of three species endemic to the islands. The iguanas are found under bushes or even in the middle of trails.