Today, National Geographic Endeavour II embarked on a remarkable expedition to Española Island, one of the oldest islands in the archipelago. The day began early with a landing at Gardner Bay Beach. No Galápagos expedition is complete without encountering playful Galápagos sea lions, and we found several lounging on the sandy beach and boisterously frolicking near the water.
Española mockingbirds, a rare and endemic species, were a delightful find. These birds fearlessly approached our group, providing close-up views for our guests. Their territorial fighting was a surprise for many, and they defended patches of the beach environment.
Heading into the water, our morning continued with snorkeling and kayaking along the coast. Snorkelers got a show as young sea lions played around us, showing us how awkward we are in the water. Numerous species of colorful fish surrounded us as we explored the undersea world.
One of the highlights of the day was undoubtedly our afternoon encounter with majestic waved albatrosses at Punta Suarez. With their massive wingspans, these magnificent seabirds are truly a sight to behold. We were fortunate to witness their dynamic soaring over the waves as we explored offshore in the Zodiacs. This island is the only successful breeding colony in the world, and waved albatrosses are considered endemic.
As the clouds rolled in along the horizon, we returned to the coast where numerous Pacific green sea turtles were popping up their heads for a breath of air. Española marine iguanas lazed along the coast in piles to retain heat as their day ended. What a wonderful day we experienced.