Today we enjoyed the opportunity to explore the uplands of Santa Cruz, one of the largest islands of the Galápagos. The humid zone offers perfect foraging grounds for the giant tortoise; in order to find the tortoises, we travelled by bus from the north of the island to the southern side. We found large numbers of tortoises on the privately owned El Manzanillo Ranch. After a delicious lunch, we returned to our ship and weighed anchor. We had reports that Wolf Volcano, located on Isabela Island, was still active! We navigated for a few hours until we reached the coast nearest to the eruption site; from there, we admired a beautiful red glow against the dark night. What an amazing opportunity to admire the forces of nature that produced these magnificent islands!
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.