We started our day with a beautiful sunrise and a stretching session with our wellness specialist, followed by a very nutritious breakfast prepared by our wonderful team of cooks. Today was an exciting day as we went to visit a very different ecosystem that our guests had not seen or experienced before. We explored the humid highlands in Santa Cruz Island, the most central island in the archipelago and the island with the largest human population. After disembarkation, our Zodiacs took us to the Itabaca Channel, a very narrow and shallow area that divides Santa Cruz from Baltra Island. Several buses were waiting for us so we could start our morning adventure. The ride was not long, only about 40 minutes, and it flew by as we enjoyed the scenery of the diverse vegetation zones of the island. After arriving at the ranch and putting on our rubber boots, we were ready to find those giants, the Galapagos giant tortoises. The naturalists shared their ample knowledge about these ancient and iconic animals. Then we enjoyed a delicious lunch prepared by our cooks and the Manzanillo Ranch team. After a relaxing time, we boarded buses to return to our wonderful floating hotel. We enjoyed a naturalist’s presentation on the oceanography of the Galapagos Islands. Our day was not over yet; it was now time to explore the pristine white sandy beach of Bachas, located in the north of Santa Cruz. Our guests enjoyed the soft sand, warm sun, and lots of wildlife sightings, including some Galapagos flamingos. After relaxing and bathing in the sea, we came back to National Geographic Endeavour II and listened to our recap session and a briefing for the next day’s activities. What a day!
National Geographic Endeavour II
Today was the second full day of our expedition, and we started activities very early to make the most of it. Right after sunrise, we boarded Zodiacs to explore a very interesting visitor site on Floreana Island. Here, a green sand beach was waiting for us. We learned about different types of sand and why the green color of this beach is so special. As we walked a little farther, we arrived at a brackish water lagoon. Flamingos are often observed here, but today was really special. We found nearly 80 flamingos feeding at the lagoon. This sighting was not only rare but also very exciting! We kept walking and arrived at a beach known as “the flour beach.” The beach has a particular type of sand that is not only white but very fine, like flour. Walking there was a pleasure. We encountered a sea turtle laying her eggs and covering them with sand. We observed diamond stingrays along the shoreline as we walked along the beach. Our next activity was an amazing deep-water snorkel. We observed many species of colorful fish along with one of the largest colonies of sea lions in the Galapagos. The afternoon was equally interesting, maybe even better! We had the opportunity to visit Post Office Bay, the location of the first mailing system on the islands. Long ago, sailors deposited their mail here, and it was collected by other ships passing through on their way back home. Nowadays, the mail system still works the same way. Postcards are dropped off and then picked up by future visitors, who follow the tradition by hand-delivering the mail once they make it home. After this exciting adventure, we enjoyed the clear and warm waters at the beach. Today was another great day in this little piece of heaven on earth.