Early in the morning, we went on a pre-breakfast outing to explore a visitors’ site known as “Cerro Dragon” on the northwest coast of Isabela. This site offers guests the opportunity to see Galapagos land iguanas in their natural habitat.
After a dry landing, we hiked farther into the island to look for endemic wildlife, including lagoon birds spotted near a body of brackish water by the coastline. We observed a couple white-cheeked pintail ducks and black-necked stilts feeding around the shallow waters.
As we walked farther into the island, we observed a few species of Darwin’s finches and Galapagos mockingbirds, and we were lucky to spot around twenty Galapagos land iguanas. Some of them rested under the shade of prickly pear cacti, and others fed on flowers left behind by the rainy season of the Galapagos. These endemic reptiles are found on six different islands in the Galapagos. This morning was a success. We got to see many land iguanas and learn about the flora of the enchanted archipelago.
After breakfast, we had the opportunity to go deep-water snorkeling along the coast of Dragon Hill. We spotted several species of fish, including parrotfish, whitetip reef sharks, groupers, and a large variety of sea stars. Some of us chose to snorkel off the beach instead, and we spent some relaxing time with the wildlife.
In the afternoon, we had the opportunity to go kayaking and paddleboarding along the coast of Borrero Bay, an area with several mangrove inlets and plenty of marine life. While kayaking, we spotted a few spotted eagle rays and juvenile blacktip reef sharks. Red mangroves cover the vast majority of this coastline and provide a large variety of habitats for young marine species of the Galapagos.
After the afternoon outing, we circumnavigated Daphne Islet. We learned about Peter and Rosemary Grant’s work on the evolution of Darwin’s finches in the Galapagos and specifically, their studies in this islet.