We woke up at sunrise to admire the myriad of rocks and parasitic volcanoes that form the northern part of Floreana Island. We anchored at Post Office Bay, and we planned several activities before breakfast. Everybody wanted to visit the famous barrel where people drop letters and postcards for hand delivery by future visitors, a tradition dating back to the time of whalers. We landed and checked the barrel. Then, guests enjoyed a Zodiac ride, kayaking, or paddleboarding. We explored a group of islets where giant Opuntias and mangroves grow. Sea lions and marine iguanas inhabit the islets. The turquoise seas were calm and shallow. Wildlife sightings were plentiful, and guests who paddled got a lot of exercise.

We moved National Geographic Islander to Champion Islet for the after breakfast outing. First, we began on our mission to find the very elusive Floreana mockingbird. Unfortunately, they are nearly extinct, but we were successful today! We spotted several of the no more than 100 left in the world. Then we jumped into the water to snorkel with sea lions, whitetip reef sharks, turtles, and a dozen species of various tropical fish.

The afternoon found us at Punta Cormorant. We hiked for about a mile to learn about the vegetation of this tropical dry forest. We encountered flamingos feeding in the brackish lagoon set at the base of the perfect cinder cone. The area appeared painted in pink, maybe because of the water’s reflection, so rich in algae, or because of the light as the sun began to set. The organic beach had it all: blacktip reef sharks, diamond stingrays, and green sea turtles. It was hard to leave such a place. We had twelve hours of light, twelve hours of activities, and twelve hours of amazing wildlife sightings on Floreana Island.