We are getting closer to the end of an awesome and unforgettable week in the Enchanted Islands of the Galapagos. We anchored early in the morning at “La Tranca,” a stop for many liveaboard yachts and boats near the Itabaca Channel. After a ten-minute Zodiac ride, we boarded a bus for Manzanillo Ranch, a productive and privately owned farm. As we traveled south, we had the chance to appreciate drastic changes in vegetation. We moved from a coastal, arid zone to a more humid, mist-covered one dominated by Scalesia trees, which are endemic to the Galápagos. Santa Cruz is the only island with six delineated vegetative zones. We noticed the contrast of natural and agricultural land. Finally, we came across the famous giant tortoises! We observed a wide-range of ages, and we were amazed by the tortoises’ appearance. We learned about their lifestyle, their natural history on the islands, their ecological importance, and their interactions with humans. We enjoyed a presentation on the human history of the Galápagos Islands by Omar. Back onboard National Geographic Endeavour II, we headed to Bowditch Bay for some time on the beach.
National Geographic Endeavour II
Santiago Island is a fascinating place. Visited by sailors during the 1700s for giant tortoises, food, and fresh water, it has many unique characteristics. Colonies of marine iguanas on the coast and fur seals by the grottos are highlights for all visitors. In the morning, we had a great Zodiac ride in Buccaneer Cove where we observed a colony of Nazca boobies, swallow-tailed gulls, and blue-footed boobies. Snorkeling and glass bottom boat rides were fantastic, and guests really enjoyed them. For our afternoon excursion, we sailed National Geographic Endeavour II to the southwest side of the island, to a place called Puerto Egas. On our nature walk we had the opportunity to observe fur seals swimming in the lava grottos, marine iguanas basking along the coast, and American oyster catchers with their hatchling looking for food along the rocky shore. We could not ask for more!