San Cristobal & Española Islands, 2/6/2022, National Geographic Endeavour II
National Geographic Endeavour II
San Cristobal and Española are some of the oldest of the Galapagos Islands, as they sit on the southeastern end of the archipelago. The islands are of volcanic origin and formed due to the activity of what geologists call a “hotspot.” As the Nazca Plate slid to the southeast over the hotspot, new islands emerged. This means that the islands toward the northwest are the youngest, and the ones on the opposite end are the oldest.
Salvador Cazar studied biology at the Universidad Nacional Del Sur, Bahía Blanca, in Argentina and at the Catholic University of Ecuador. Between 1988 and 1994, Salvador worked as a naturalist and tour leader for several national and international to...
Our day started with a magical view of this satellite islet of Santiago Island. We went out in the early morning on kayaks and enjoyed perfect light as we encountered a couple of penguins also getting ready to start their day. Later in the morning, it was time to take a dip in these turquoise waters to experience the magnificent wildlife found underwater. The afternoon offered a hike on a moon-like landscape featuring a very young lava field with interesting formations, or a Zodiac ride. The highlight of the day was seeing up to 30 Galapagos penguins throughout the day.
This morning National Geographic Islander II anchored near two uplifted islets located on the eastern side of Santa Cruz Island. We started our day with an early morning walk on South Plaza, a .13 km2 islet with a 1-km trail that includes a 30-meter cliff. Here we explored the unique ecology, which included prickly pear cactus, the endemic Galápagos land iguana, pillow lava, and uplifted coral from the islet’s creation. We also witnessed a conservation program by the Charles Darwin Research Station called “Green Galápagos 2050.” This project aims to recover the opuntia plant species. Afterward, our ship navigated for about one hour and 45 minutes towards Santa Fé Island, which was named after a city in Spain. On the way, we received our snorkeling equipment and safety briefing. Soon, we were immersed in warm waters and observing the amazing marine diversity at this heavenly site. Lastly, we concluded the day with a 300-meter walk along a dry forest and we got the chance to admire the endemic Santa Fé land iguana among the tall cacti.
Today we visited the island of San Cristobal. We started our day with a hike at Punta Pitt, where we walked uphill along a beautiful landscape made of volcanic tuff. Here we could observe the last of the three species of boobies we had yet to encounter in the Galapagos, the red-footed booby. In the afternoon, after a delicious lunch, we visited Cerro Brujo, a great place to relax on the last full day of our trip. We also spent time walking among sea lions and sea birds feeding along the shore. We ended our day navigating around Kicker Rock, a tuff cone in the middle of the ocean, a few miles off the coast of San Cristobal.