Today, our expedition took us to the enchanting Santa Fe Island. Santa Fe is known for its unique biodiversity, striking landscapes, and pristine waters. We started our day with an early morning kayak before breakfast. Filled with remarkable encounters, it was nothing short of spectacular. Playful sea lions frolicked in the water around us, and blue-footed boobies showed off their impressive diving skills. We even spotted marine iguanas perched on the volcanic rocks, absorbing the warmth of the morning sun. A highlight of our kayaking expedition was witnessing Galapagos hawks in their natural habitat as they showcased their grace and magnificence.
Some guests preferred an early hike along the coast of the island. They disembarked on the landing beach, where some sleepy Galapagos sea lions rested under bushes. The hike took us through the island's rugged terrain, and we observed unique vegetation. Iconic Santa Fe prickly pear cacti, some that reached impressive heights, were a dominant feature of the landscape. Along the way, we observed unique flora and fauna and the geological forces that have shaped this remarkable place. At the end of the trail, we spotted several Santa Fe land iguanas (Conolophs palidus), a unique species found only on this island. Their color is paler than that of the land iguanas observed at Cerro Dragon. These fascinating creatures blend seamlessly with the environment, and their presence added to the excitement of our hike. The trail took us to panoramic viewpoints, offering breathtaking vistas of Santa Fe's breathtaking beauty.
After breakfast, we wasted no time in donning our snorkeling gear and wetsuits. Our snorkeling adventure took us into the crystal-clear waters around Santa Fe Island. Snorkeling was a captivating experience, and we marveled at the vibrant underwater world. We swam alongside graceful sea turtles, observed schools of colorful fish, and even had an exhilarating encounter with some whitetip reef sharks. The underwater topography was just as diverse as the island itself, with underwater cliffs and caves housing various marine species.
Before lunch, National Geographic Islander II started navigating east to visit Cerro Brujo Beach at San Cristobal Island.
Cerro Brujo is a stunning natural wonder known for pristine beaches and abundant wildlife. As we stepped onto powdery white sand, we immediately noticed graceful sea lions basking in the sun and playing along the water's edge. These marine mammals are incredibly friendly and curious. They approached guests with a mix of wonder and enthusiasm. Guests observed as the young pups engaged in playful antics, somersaulting through waves and hopping across rocks. Their agile and acrobatic movements create a heartwarming and entertaining spectacle for anyone lucky enough to witness it. The pristine shoreline of Cerro Brujo was the perfect backdrop for this delightful interaction and the harmonious relationship between wildlife and humans in the Galapagos Islands. It's a place where the beauty of nature and the charm of these friendly sea lions come together, leaving an indelible mark on the memories of every visitor.