We started our day with a pre-breakfast outing to explore a visitor site known as Cormorant Point. Soon after our arrival, we encountered a large colony of American flamingos. We observed around 30 flamingos feeding in the shallows of a brackish water lagoon. Brine shrimp and other small crustaceans serve as the main source of food for the rare flamingos.
Along the cliffs, we encountered several blue-footed boobies performing their mating ritual. In this clownish dance, males lift their feet up and down to show off the brightness of their blue feet to the females. Sexual selection relies upon the brightness of the blue color of these birds’ feet. The brighter a male’s blue feet, the faster he is chosen by a female.
We continued our hike through the “palo santo” forest (incense trees). We finished the trail on a beautiful white sand beach. We encountered several spotted eagle rays mating in the shallow waters.
We spotted several nests of Pacific green sea turtles higher on the dry sand. This is the hatchling season for baby sea turtles. They mainly hatch at night due to decreased predators.
After breakfast, we went on a Zodiac ride around the cliffs of Champion Islet. Around this offshore islet, we encountered several species of birds, such as blue-footed boobies, swallow-tailed gulls, and brown noddies. We also observed large specimens of giant prickly pear cacti. After the Zodiac ride, we went deep water snorkeling around the islet. Champion is one of the satellite islets of Floreana. We spotted a few whitetip reef sharks, bluechin parrotfish, schools of yellowtail razor surgeonfish, and large schools of the endemic striped salemas. A couple of playful Galapagos sea lions came to spend time with us while we snorkeled, making the underwater experience even more interesting.
During the afternoon, we had the opportunity to kayak around the coast of Post Office Bay. Some of us chose to take a Zodiac ride along the shoreline to search for Pacific green sea turtles, Galapagos sea lions, and brown pelicans. Post Office Bay is a well-known visitor site frequented by seafarers. Guests drop their correspondence into the post office barrel, known as the oldest mailing system in the Americas. We went through the postcards and read the addresses. We took some postcards with us to hand deliver, following a tradition started in the 17th century.
Today was a fantastic day full of wildlife and learning about the human history in the Galapagos. It was a day that showcased the wonderful nature of the Enchanted Islands.