Today we woke up for an early pre-breakfast walk uphill to the top of Bartolome, a satellite islet of Santiago Island. This relatively new island is a good place to appreciate different geological formations such as tuff, spatter cones and basaltic flows. It was a pleasure for me to share my knowledge of geological formation of these islands with our local people. The presence of pioneer plants such as Tiquilia nesiotica and lava cactus makes Bartolome a good place to understand how life started in Galapagos after the first plants stablished on newly formed islands. We also had the chance to explore the underwater world of this place. Having fishermen from the community was an amazing experience as they started finding and pointing species of commercial interest, such as spiny lobsters and sea cucumbers. In the afternoon, we explored the island of Rabida, where one of the highlights were the flamingoes that we found in a lagoon, and sea lions resting at the beach during a beautiful sunset. We ended our day sharing “canelazos,” one of the main traditional drinks of Ecuador.
National Geographic Endeavour II
Today was the second full day of our expedition, and we started activities very early to make the most of it. Right after sunrise, we boarded Zodiacs to explore a very interesting visitor site on Floreana Island. Here, a green sand beach was waiting for us. We learned about different types of sand and why the green color of this beach is so special. As we walked a little farther, we arrived at a brackish water lagoon. Flamingos are often observed here, but today was really special. We found nearly 80 flamingos feeding at the lagoon. This sighting was not only rare but also very exciting! We kept walking and arrived at a beach known as “the flour beach.” The beach has a particular type of sand that is not only white but very fine, like flour. Walking there was a pleasure. We encountered a sea turtle laying her eggs and covering them with sand. We observed diamond stingrays along the shoreline as we walked along the beach. Our next activity was an amazing deep-water snorkel. We observed many species of colorful fish along with one of the largest colonies of sea lions in the Galapagos. The afternoon was equally interesting, maybe even better! We had the opportunity to visit Post Office Bay, the location of the first mailing system on the islands. Long ago, sailors deposited their mail here, and it was collected by other ships passing through on their way back home. Nowadays, the mail system still works the same way. Postcards are dropped off and then picked up by future visitors, who follow the tradition by hand-delivering the mail once they make it home. After this exciting adventure, we enjoyed the clear and warm waters at the beach. Today was another great day in this little piece of heaven on earth.