Today is the first full day of our expedition in the Galapagos Islands aboard National Geographic Islander II, and we visited the most populated island, Santa Cruz. There are around 20,000 people here. In the morning, we took buses up to the highlands to visit Los Gemelos, also known as the Galapagos Twin Craters. This area is surrounded by a beautiful scalesia forest. Later in the morning, we went to Rancho el Manzanillo, where the giant tortoises were waiting for us. In the afternoon, we got to see the Darwin Center, where the most important research happens in the Galapagos Islands.
National Geographic Islander II
Our day began with a mesmerizing exploration of Roca Redonda and Punta Vicente Roca. The morning sun cast a golden glow on the towering cliffs that define this part of Isabela Island. We navigated along the coast, observing the diverse marine life that thrives in these nutrient-rich waters. Notable encounters included playful Galapagos sea lions, elegant flightless cormorants, and sea turtles. Snorkeling enthusiasts were treated to a world beneath the waves and non snorkelers saw just as much from our glass-bottom Zodiac. In the afternoon, our expedition led us to the pristine shores of Fernandina Island. This uninhabited island is a haven for wildlife. The highlights were undoubtedly the iconic Galapagos marine iguanas basking on black lava rocks. As we carefully navigated the island's trails, we marveled at the otherworldly landscapes shaped by ongoing volcanic activity. A sighting of a Galapagos hawk soaring overhead added a touch of wild majesty to our exploration. The sense of isolation and raw nature in these untouched Galapagos corners reminded us of the importance of preserving these ecosystems. Our journey continues tomorrow, promising new wonders in this extraordinary archipelago.