Today we woke up to the view of the northwestern side of Santa Cruz. Dragon Hill is the name of our visitor site this morning. After breakfast, we had a dry landing on a black lava field and got ready to walk further into the island in search of Galapagos land iguanas. These golden reptiles inhabit seven islands of the Galapagos and are one of the main endemic herbivores on this island. This visitor site offers the opportunity to spot several land birds such as the Galapagos mockingbirds, a few species of ground finches, and some of the flowering endemic Galapagos cotton plants, decorating the trails.
After the hike, we went deepwater snorkeling along the coast of Santa Cruz and we were lucky to spot a couple of white-tipped reef sharks, several playful Galapagos sea lions, and large schools of fish. During our afternoon exploration, some of us opted to go kayaking around the mangrove inlets of Borrero Bay. These inlets were full of black-tipped reef sharks and several hammerhead sharks, all juveniles. A couple of spotted eagle rays swam along the coast and some of us on the Zodiac ride spotted a large tiger shark from a distance.
We then returned to the ship for a circumnavigation at sunset around Daphne Major Islet, where a pair of British scientists have studied the evolutionary behavior of finches since 1973. We had an incredible day in the Galapagos!