This morning we visited North Seymour, an island that is the product of uplifted seafloor due to volcanism. Although flat and dry, North Seymour is quite a highlight. The island is home to seabirds like the ever-popular blue-footed booby, which seems to be at the beginning of a new breeding season. Great and magnificent frigates also live on the island, and today, we walked amidst their colonies. In the afternoon, we visited the island of Rabida. The red sandy beach is quite stunning, and we had the opportunity to snorkel amongst endless schools of fish and some Galapagos sea lions. After dinner, our captain navigated along the northeastern coast of Isabela Island. An eruption that began in the early days of January still continues, offering us magnificent views of red glows and incandescent rivers of lava. What a spectacular way to end an amazing first day in the Enchanted Isles!
National Geographic Endeavour II
This morning, we explored the northern side of Santa Cruz Island, and our first outing took us to see the Galapagos dragons. This land iguana inhabits the palo santo dry forest. As soon as we disembarked, marine iguanas greeted us as they sunbathed on the Sesuvium carpetweed found along the shoreline. We walked along the trail and found a brackish water lagoon that is usually visited by birds like white-cheeked pintail ducks, black-necked stilts, and sometimes flamingos. Later, we passed through the dry forest of palo santo and breathed in its fragrant aroma as we headed to observe the eroded volcanic ash on the trail. Land iguanas are endemic to this archipelago and can be found nesting in the area or just relaxing under a prickly pear cactus tree. We saw a spectacular number of iguanas, counting twenty during our walk. The bright colors of the iguanas make them a very exciting sight, which our guests enjoyed very much. Later in the afternoon, our younger explorers took Zodiac driving lessons in the company of their parents and a naturalist guide. It was the highlight of the day for them. The rest of our guests opted between getting some exercise while kayaking along the shoreline of Borrero Bay or simply took it slower and joined a Zodiac tour in the area. During the afternoon, we observed big flocks of blue-footed boobies, which are not often seen in high numbers. We also observed brown pelicans, striated herons, baby blacktip sharks, a small eagle ray, and lava gulls. We ended our day by enjoying a glass of wine while circumnavigating Daphne Major and observing the stunning sunset.