Today we spent the day exploring Santa Cruz Island. We started our morning by learning more about how the first settlers lived before electricity was available on the islands, and we learned more about the coffee and sugarcane processes. This large island provides many different ecosystems, and the humid Scalesia forest is one of them. Walking around the pit craters in this endangered forest was such a unique experience, and we learned more about the endemic plants of the area. We also observed several different finch species, like the warbler finch. Afterwards, our exploration took us to Manzanillo Ranch, where we walked among giants! Giant tortoises are an iconic species in this archipelago, and we didn’t have to walk far to find them. They were everywhere! We finished our day by visiting the National Park’s giant tortoise breeding center. Afterwards, we were happy to return to our floating home and enjoy a delicious dinner in the company of our new friends.
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.