Daily Expedition Reports
South Plaza & Santa Fe Islands
  • Daily Expedition Reports
  • 29 Aug 2019

South Plaza & Santa Fe Islands

  • Aboard the National Geographic Islander
  • Galápagos

Today we visited the tiny island of South Plaza, with its magnificent colors. This island is a magnet for sea lions, crabs, land iguanas, seabirds, and an amazing cactus forest. This time of the year as the drought progresses towards its peak, South Plaza gets its best tinges of red, orange and green from the evergreen cacti. This is a treat to the photographers and observers of nature!

Land iguanas and opuntia cacti have a close relationship: Cacti provide food, and iguanas distribute cacti seeds. The result of this is relationship is more cactus in the area to produce more food. Here on South Plaza, iguanas have outnumbered the cactus trees and have eaten all baby cactus plants, therefore only old cacti have been seen for decades. The Galapagos National Park together with the Darwin Foundation are carrying out a reforestation campaign to bring them back. It is important to have a healthy forest for the future population of land iguanas.

In the afternoon we navigated towards Santa Fe Island where you can do several activities, all of them exciting! Some of us chose kayaking and explored the turquoise bay home to sea lions and eagle rays on the north side of Santa Fe. Others explored the coral sand beach and sea lion colony with cameras in hand, ready to get the best shot. In the late afternoon we went for a sunset walk in search of the elusive Santa Fe land iguana. After a while we found it resting on lava rocks. With sightings like these, we can say it was a successful outing!

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