We started our day on the northwestern end of Santa Cruz Island at Cerro Dragon. Soon after breakfast, we headed ashore to avoid the strong sun typical of the hot rainy season. We were greeted by a small group of marine iguanas and diving blue-footed boobies at the shore. Further inland was a brackish water lagoon where we found black-necked stilts, whimbrels, and several sandpipers looking for food.
Today was our chance to find Galapagos land iguanas in their natural habitat at Dragon Hill. This is a place where the national park service worked intensively to eradicate introduced feral dogs that fed on the iguanas. Luckily, those efforts were successful. Nowadays Galapagos land iguanas have been repatriated from the breeding center to this area.
Afterward, we went snorkeling and had the opportunity to find several species of sea stars, sea urchins, colorful reef fish, and even sea lions at the Guy Fawkes islets. Back onboard National Geographic Endeavour II, we enjoyed a special Ecuadorian lunch that our culinary team proudly presented with an array of exquisite colors and flavors for our guests to enjoy.
In the afternoon, we went on a Zodiac ride along the coast of Borrero Bay, looking for wildlife among the red, black, and white mangroves. We observed brown pelicans, sea lions, and blue-footed boobies plunge-diving for fish. We soon headed to Daphne Major, an important site for research on Darwin finches. We had a great sunny day and as we sailed along the coast of Daphne Major, magnificent frigatebirds followed us. The red colors of the sunset reflected onto this islet was a great way to end our day in this magical archipelago.