South Plaza & Santa Fe

Jul 05, 2018 - National Geographic Islander

South Plaza Island revealed many surprises today. Land iguanas and swallow-tailed gulls were waiting for us on the island as soon as we started our walk. As usual, sea lions entertained us with their very playful and naive behaviour. A mysterious shine in the rocks of Plazas Sur called our attention and we soon discovered that many rocky areas of the island are the sea lions’ favourite places to sleep. A mixture of the sea lions’ body oil, excrement, and urine originates the glossy surface on these rocks. On the cliffs, we observed a variety of birds such as the frigate bird, the red-billed tropic bird, petrels, and many more.

We had a great time jumping and swimming off the ship later this morning. Everyone showed off many skills with impressive and acrobatic jumps! Learning about the Oceanography and Volcanology on the Galapagos Islands was also part of today’s activities. Naturalists on board shared highly interesting facts on these topics. A special artistic activity for the kids was also held—our young explorers designed and fashioned a new species of fish with much imagination, creativity, and enthusiasm.

After a kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding adventure in the afternoon, we went for a Zodiac ride to observe the unique vegetation of Santa Fe´s beach. We were very lucky to find some Pacific green sea turtles and several white-tipped reef sharks as well! Santa Fe Island has a big colony of sea lions and is home to an endemic species of land iguana, conolophus pallidus, which has a paler yellow tonality in comparison to the subcristatus species found on South Plaza Island.

Prickly pear cactus on Santa Fe Island are the tallest in the whole archipelago and over the branches of this cactus, we spotted mockingbirds. They followed us during the whole trail with curiosity.

Our eager learning didn’t end there, since a very detailed evening recap about land iguanas was held in the lounge tonight. Right after that, dinner was served while our youngest guests had some entertaining moments watching a movie.

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About the Author

Gabriel Tapia, Naturalist

Gabriel Tapia, Naturalist

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