Early in the morning, we made a wet landing to explore Punta Pitt, the easternmost visitors’ site in the Galapagos Islands. San Cristobal is the second oldest of the Galapagos Islands and it is home to several species unique to the island. Some of us chose to go hiking along the cliffs of a collapsed caldera in search of the red-footed boobies nesting along the eroded tuff walls. Others chose a Zodiac ride to search for potential wildlife, and they were extremely lucky to spot a large school of golden rays that stayed with the group for a few minutes. We were surprised to encounter a school of around fifty bottlenose dolphins bow-riding our Zodiacs for about twenty minutes along the coast of San Cristobal. It was an incredible show.
During the hike, we spotted several red-footed boobies nesting on trees. Blue-footed boobies performed their courtship dance on the ground. It was incredible to see the species coexisting together. The vegetation here is adapted to survive the dry season, which takes place over pretty much half the year.
After the hike and a spectacular Zodiac ride, we had time to swim and snorkel off the beach. We played in the water with a couple Galapagos sea lion pups. The beach is greenish due to small fragments of olivine in the sand.
After our morning visit, National Geographic Islander II repositioned to Cerro Brujo, a white sand beach with turquoise water and a small colony of sea lions on shore. We spotted marine iguanas resting on the black lava fields and blue-footed boobies fishing along the shore. Kicker Rock is a satellite islet off the coast of San Cristobal, and it could be seen in the distance.
We had an amazing day exploring two visitors’ sites at San Cristobal. What a great way to finish the expedition.