National Geographic Islander
A long, mostly smooth overnight navigation took us back to the central islands of the Galapagos archipelago. We awoke to find gray skies and a chilly breeze; these were pleasant conditions for the kayaking and hiking we had scheduled for this morning. All those who went to the shore enjoyed walking the long calm beach, and watching blue-footed boobies diving offshore, or exploring the mangrove and palo santo forests where finches and warblers were feeding among the branches. The kayakers paddled along the dramatic cliffs and inlets to Buccaneers Cove and appreciated the brisk following wind that helped push them along. Everyone worked up an appetite for our late breakfast! Captain Cifuentes moved and anchored the ship in scenic Buccaneer’s Cove and here we had a choice between snorkeling or a Zodiac cruise along the weathered and sculpted cliffs. No sooner had we anchored than the captain announced there were two active manta rays right beside the ship, so we took our Zodiac ride immediately after breakfast! While we watched from the Zodiacs, our Video Chronicler Ivan filmed these beautiful creatures underwater. Two groups went out to snorkel in the cool water among myriad fish species. We were entertained by a young sea lion gracefully swirling through schools of endemic black striped salema and grabbing small fish as often as he could. In the afternoon, we disembarked on a black sand beach at Puerto Egas. Our naturalists took us inland and then along the coast where we hiked on the black lava shore which has been eroded into tunnels and grottos by the relentless pounding of the sea. The coastal scenery was stunning, the wildlife was varied and abundant, and we once again enjoyed taking many photos of the unique and utterly fearless inhabitants of these enchanted islands.