Today we visited two small but interesting islands: South Plazas on the north part of Santa Cruz and Santa Fe to the east. These islands are home to two different species of iguanas: the Galapagos land iguana and the Santa Fe land iguana. These two islands are also home to two different species of prickly pear cacti, and both have characteristics that make them unique to the places they live. Aside from this, we observed a number of seabirds and a few colonies of the iconic Galapagos sea lions.
National Geographic Islander II
Genovesa Island, located on the northern side of the archipelago, has a high concentration of marine birds. When National Geographic Islander II reached the central part of the caldera on the island, birds were starting their daily activities. We disembarked on a small, white sand beach in Darwin’s Bay (named as such even though Darwin never visited this site). As we walked along a sandy trail, we found frigates, swallow-tailed gulls, and red-footed boobies, among others. In the afternoon, we took a short hike to Prince Philip’s Steps. We were surprised to find a short-eared owl in the middle of the trail. This nocturnal bird has diurnal behavior on Genovesa, and they are not usually easy to spot. The owls mostly prey on storm petrels. As the density of marine birds is so high here, we observed more frigates, boobies, and even nesting red tropicbirds. After this great walk, the sunset was amazing. It was the perfect way to end our trip.