On our fourth day on board the National Geographic Endeavour II, we stopped by the south side of Santa Cruz Island. The archipelago’s second largest island is almost 1000m2 in area and circular in shape. Located in the center of the Galapagos, it is also the economic center and has the highest population of the five inhabited islands. Today, we had the chance to explore Puerto Ayora, a town of about 12,000 residents. At the Galapagos National Park giant tortoise breeding center, we learned about the efforts to save these endangered animals and saw a variety of species in corrals. We then traveled to the highlands to see giant tortoises in the wild. Along the way, we stopped at a local farm stand to sample products made from sugar cane, coffee, and cacao. We concluded our busy day visiting local artisans.
National Geographic Endeavour II
North Seymour & Rabida Islands
We began our day with a landing on North Seymour, where we encountered hundreds of birds, mostly frigatebirds flying overhead. We followed a path that took us to a breeding site of blue-footed boobies and magnificent frigatebirds. We watched their mating displays in awe as nature showed us its wonderful ways. Male frigatebirds inflated their red gular sacs and stretched out their wings trying to attract a mate. Male blue-footed boobies slowing raising their cerulean feet to show a potential mate that they can fish well and support a nest. We also spotted land iguanas, marine iguanas, lava lizards, and a Galapagos racer snake along the path. We continued our navigation to Rabida Island, famous for its red sand beach, a coloration resulting from iron oxide in its volcanic soil. Those who chose to snorkel were delighted with sightings of sea turtles, sharks, Galapagos sea lions, and colorful fish. As the sun dipped into the horizon, we continued with a casual walk to a brackish pond that has a resurgent population of American flamingos, an excellent way to finish this day.