Today we explored the most beautiful island of the archipelago according to some naturalists that grew up there: Santa Cruz. Back to civilization after a couple of days, we find cars and people again, but we came here searching for the most iconic animal of the Galapagos and the one that gives it its name, the Galapagos giant tortoise! After a bus ride through the island where our naturalist reported on the ecology, history, and lifestyle of the place, we arrived at our destination, El Mazanillo Ranch, to get a closer look at these majestic animals.
National Geographic Endeavour II
North Seymour & Rabida Islands
We began our day with a landing on North Seymour, where we encountered hundreds of birds, mostly frigatebirds flying overhead. We followed a path that took us to a breeding site of blue-footed boobies and magnificent frigatebirds. We watched their mating displays in awe as nature showed us its wonderful ways. Male frigatebirds inflated their red gular sacs and stretched out their wings trying to attract a mate. Male blue-footed boobies slowing raising their cerulean feet to show a potential mate that they can fish well and support a nest. We also spotted land iguanas, marine iguanas, lava lizards, and a Galapagos racer snake along the path. We continued our navigation to Rabida Island, famous for its red sand beach, a coloration resulting from iron oxide in its volcanic soil. Those who chose to snorkel were delighted with sightings of sea turtles, sharks, Galapagos sea lions, and colorful fish. As the sun dipped into the horizon, we continued with a casual walk to a brackish pond that has a resurgent population of American flamingos, an excellent way to finish this day.