Today we woke up at Academy Bay, located on the southeast of Santa Cruz Island. Here, we visited the Charles Darwin Research Station, where we learned about the breeding program of endangered giant tortoises. We also got the chance to experience some local flavor with a stop at “El Trapiche,” a sugarcane press operated by one family since the 1960s. In the afternoon, we went to an excursion to the Santa Cruz highlands, where we could observe giant tortoises on their migration route. It was an amazing to see these huge animals up close and in their natural habitat. Before returning to the ship, some guests explored the main town, Puerto Ayora, and came back with souvenirs. Other guests enjoyed an exhibition organized by local artisans in the ship’s Global Gallery.
National Geographic Endeavour II
Our adventure on Floreana Island started early in the morning, at Punta Cormorant. We had a wet landing on a beach with “green sand” — its color is due to the presence of olivine crystals, volcanically derived silicates of magnesium and iron. The trail led us to a brackish lagoon, where we found Galapagos flamingos, giving us the perfect moment for pictures. Next we followed a trail surrounded mostly by palo santo trees; at this time of the year they are dry and leafless, but they are just waiting for the rainy season to blossom. At the end of the trail a white sandy beach was waiting for us. Later in the morning we snorkeled around Champion. It was an amazing experience to play with Galapagos sea lions while taking in the beautiful underwater landscape. We finished our visit to this island with the historical site of Post Office Bay. This is one of the islands’ most famous sites due to its frequent visitations by pirates and whalers during the 17th and 18th centuries. The crew of visiting ships would leave mail inside a barrel; in turn, they would pick up any mail that was destined for their own part of the world. Of course our guests left their own postcards there, hoping they will be delivered soon. We finished the day with kayaking at sunset — a beautiful end to a beautiful day.