Our expedition today offered a double dose of natural wonders as we explored North Seymour Island in the morning and Rábida Island in the afternoon. With eager anticipation, our group of enthusiastic explorers set out to uncover the unique biodiversity and captivating landscapes of these Galápagos gems.

We had hardly boarded our Zodiacs for North Seymour Island when one of our guests spotted a whale. It was a bit far away, but not too far to get closer! We saw this beautiful specimen swimming with its calf; we identified that it was a humpback whale. It was jumping and flapping strongly against the surface of the water, as if trying to get rid of certain ectoparasites. What a beautiful experience!

Afterwards, we headed to North Seymour Island. Our hike began with the rhythmic calls of seabirds echoing along the rugged coastline. The island’s arid landscape was punctuated by low-lying vegetation and lava rock formations. Our group quickly spotted the charismatic blue-footed boobies engaged in their distinctive courtship dance — a mesmerizing display of bright blue feet and synchronized movements. Camouflaged against the rocky terrain and dry vegetation, land iguanas posed for our cameras and provided the perfect photo opportunities. Their slow, deliberate movements showcased their adaptation to the island’s challenging environment. As we strolled through the brush, we also encountered frigatebirds soaring overhead, their inflated red throat pouches catching the sunlight.

After a fulfilling morning on North Seymour Island, we set sail for Rábida Island in the afternoon. We were greeted by the island’s distinctive reddish hue, a result of the high iron content in the volcanic soil. Against this vibrant backdrop, we were thrilled to discover the main attraction of the day: elegant Galapagos flamingos wading gracefully in a shallow lagoon. Their brilliant pink plumage contrasted beautifully with the azure sky and turquoise waters. Our group observed these graceful creatures feeding in the lagoon; their unique filtering technique allows them to extract nutrients from the brackish water. Exploring the island further, we encountered a diverse array of wildlife, including sea lions basking lazily on the sandy shores and playful Sally Lightfoot crabs scurrying across the rocks. We learned about the island’s geological history and how it has shaped the current ecosystem.

As the sun began to set on this extraordinary day, we reflected on our experience. Our day of exploration underscored the delicate balance of nature and the significance of preserving these pristine environments for future generations. We returned to our ship with hearts full of appreciation for the beauty of Galápagos; we felt grateful to have witnessed the remarkable creatures and landscapes that define these islands.