Continuing on with our expedition, we sailed east to visit one of the most famous islands in the archipelago, Floreana. Named after the first Ecuadorian president, Juan Jose Flores, this island was the first political capital of the Galapagos. The famous naturalist, Charles Darwin, also visited the island.
Early in the morning, we started our activities by landing at Post Office Bay. This historic spot was well known by ancient whalers and buccaneers, who installed the first mailing system in the South Pacific to allow sailors to send letters to overseas relatives. This tradition has been kept alive for many years. Nowadays, our guests maintain the tradition by leaving postcards in the barrel and taking others to hand deliver back home.
Afterwards, we headed to the shallows of the island for kayaking or Zodiac tours. We observed the island’s geology with its many hills. Along the shore, playful sea lions chased our Zodiac. On the rocks, blue-footed boobies and pelicans fished for delicious meals as they took advantage of the last beams of the sun.
After breakfast, we headed to Champion Islet. Our first mission was to observe the elusive Floreana mockingbird, whose population became extinct after the introduction of animals to the main island of Floreana. The mockingbirds found refuge on small satellite islets. We observed two flying freely over the trees. Along the cliffs, swallow-tailed gulls, tropical birds, Nazca boobies, and sea lions were the delight of our guests. After that, we came back to the same islet to discover an incredible underwater world. The snorkeling was spectacular with hundreds of colorful fish swimming around us indifferently. The best part was when juvenile sea lions swam with us, as if inviting us to play with them. What an experience!
After lunch, we headed to Punta Cormorant. We had a spectacular experience along the white beach as we observed several green sea turtles swimming close to the shore. They were likely waiting for the right moment to abandon the ocean and head to the top of the beach for nesting. Back on the landing beach, we passed by the lagoon behind it. From a distance, we observed some waders and American flamingos as they fed in the lagoon. Just behind the beach, we spotted several blue-footed boobies nesting; they were feeding their chicks, which were completely fluffy and white, probably no more than three or four weeks old.
It was late when we decided to return to National Geographic Islander. In the west, the sun disappeared, and birds in the air returned to their nests to rest. Our guests were tired but happy after enjoying another beautiful day in this paradise called Galapagos.