San Cristobal Island

Dec 13, 2019 - National Geographic Endeavour II

Today is our last day in paradise, on this adventure that seems unreal. We have all bonded as one even though we are from different backgrounds, as the Galapagos brings magic to our soul and mind. Traveling from Fernandina to San Cristobal islands, the youngest and one of the oldest islands in the archipelago, on an expedition a journey of discovery through time.

San Cristobal Island is one of the oldest in the Galapagos. Today we landed on a green olivine beach. The volcanic scenery that we observed during our intense hike was spectacular; the peaks of tuff high in the sky make this site very different from what we have already observed.

Punta Pitt also has impressive scenery from up above – the skies were clear and sunny, with the visible inversion layer that kept us cool and pleasantly comfortable for this walk. All our senses become aware as we listened to our surroundings, searching for red-footed boobies. Today we were lucky to see them up close.

Soon after, we enjoyed some quality beach time, having fun with the sea lions and observing them playing in the sand. Today was particularly special, for we saw a sea lion bringing his catch to the surface, and since this fish was so big, he had to break it in smaller pieces in order to consume it. This was just an amazing moment in our lives that will remain in our hearts forever.

Later we repositioned to Cerro Brujo for our last walk over a white sandy beach and turquoise ocean together with sea lions. It was a wonderful way to say goodbye to the Galapagos. Then we boarded our ship and circumnavigated Kicker

Rock, an impressive tuff formation standing massively out of the shoreline as the sun was setting far on the horizon. We are now together on the bow, celebrating life as a frigatebird was flying very near us like saying good-bye.

We made it to the Galapagos, and it was not easy. There is a deep appreciation to the few children who actually make it to the islands. Statistics show that out of the seven billion humans in this world, only a few make it to the Galapagos. In contrast, Hawaii is visited by twelve million people per year, Yellowstone Park sees three million visitors, Machu Picchu gets one million visitors, and finally, Galapagos Islands only gets 204,000 visitors per year, a fraction compared to other places. That is why I say, today we were honored to be part of their unforgettable experience, and we hope one day they would have the will and power to make a positive change in this wonderful world of ours.

Our expedition is now over. Life goes on, but we are now sure this place has changed us, a place which can never be fully described. We all came with different backgrounds, sharing the magic that can only exist in our minds forever.

“We must not acknowledge the methodical saying ‘don’t humanize the animals’ but instead ‘animalize the human’ by perceiving our surrounding with all our senses; embracing nature with our sense and by coexistence and respect for one another, so we can become one with nature as we once were.”

—Celso Montalvo


Farewell, amigos.

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About the Author

Celso Montalvo

Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

Celso was born in Guayaquil, Ecuador. At the age of nine he arrived in the Galápagos for the first time and he was profoundly touched by nature, observation, and isolation.  When he saw the sharks, rays and turtles swimming in the bay, he was triggered by a sense of wonder that he did not feel before.  Celso believes education is key to preservation. After graduating from the Naval Academy at the age of 17 he moved to New York to continue his education.

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