Today we visited two small but interesting islands: South Plazas on the north part of Santa Cruz and Santa Fe to the east. These islands are home to two different species of iguanas: the Galapagos land iguana and the Santa Fe land iguana. These two islands are also home to two different species of prickly pear cacti, and both have characteristics that make them unique to the places they live. Aside from this, we observed a number of seabirds and a few colonies of the iconic Galapagos sea lions.
National Geographic Islander II
We spent an unforgettable Saturday on Genovesa Island! After navigating north from Chinese Hat for five hours, we woke up surrounded by hundreds of marine birds. Genovesa Island is a bird paradise. With a population of about one million total birds, the island was definitely a highlight of our trip. We were accompanied by a variety of diverse birds during the day, including frigatebirds, red-footed boobies, swallow-tailed gulls, Nazca boobies, and many others. They were so colorful, and we had the chance to observe them in various stages of life. We were all delighted. We started the day early in the morning. After a great breakfast, we made a wet landing at Darwin’s Bay. We took an easy walk to a sandy area where we could observe nesting red-footed boobies, Nazca boobies, and frigatebirds. The adults were nesting and feeding their chicks, and the youngsters were practicing their flight skills and working on their wing muscles so they can leave their nests. Birds, birds…everywhere! After we spent two hours enjoying these feathered beauties, we returned to the beach where we spent time with a group of lazy sea lions. Once back on board, we prepared for a much-anticipated snorkeling outing where we hoped to see hammerhead sharks. I saw two! At noon, we were greatly surprised by an excellent Ecuadorian lunch that included dishes like delicious pork, fish in coconut sauce, and fabulous desserts. We really enjoyed this meal. Our afternoon outing was great. We made a dry landing on a rocky pier by Prince Philip’s Steps, and we took a fabulous, easy walk while surrounded by birds. They were everywhere. It was a dream spot for bird lovers. We took Zodiac tours along the rocky shores of the bay, and we got to see a second species of Galapagos sea lions. The day finished with a beautiful sunset as we returned to the ship.