Today was our last full day of this trip. Expectations were high since the previous days were highly productive and beautiful. We had another early start with a wet landing at Santa Fe Island. Santa Fe Bay looks like a giant, light blue swimming pool surrounded by immense prickly pears. The lower shafts of these giants look roughly like normal tree bark, but the inside has a honeycomb structure that allows the trunk to be both highly resistant and hollow. Our amazing Global Explorers tried to put their arms around one of the cactus shafts, and its circumference was bigger than their arms!
Right at the disembarkation beach, we were received by a large pod of friendly (shameless?) Galapagos sea lions. Some of the young ones were extremely curious and approached us closely. At least one guest was touched by their whiskers! We started to walk inland in search of the elusive Santa Fe land iguana, a nice-looking lizard that is endemic to this island only. It took some exploring to finally find the iguanas. Once we reached the embarkation beach at the very end of the walk, we observed evidence of the very recent delivery of a sea lion pup. Some mockingbirds vigorously pecked at the afterbirth. Just a few feet away, the mother and the newborn pup were talking to one another to imprint their voices. This will allow them to recognize each other even amongst large groups of sea lions.
We spent our afternoon at Wizard Hill on San Cristobal Island. This place was visited by Charles Darwin and Robert Fitzroy in 1835. We probably landed on the same beach that the crew of the Beagle did 188 years ago. I am sure the crew could not avoid jumping into the turquoise waters, just like our guests did. When it was time to go back to the ship, it was not easy to end such a nice visit, but the day was not over. We all enjoyed a circumnavigation of Kicker Rock at sunset. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.