Galapagos Cruise Report: Cerro Dragon & Sombrero Chino Islands

From the National Geographic Endeavour June 17, 2010

The unmistakable sound of the anchor chain sliding down the hull of National Geographic Endeavour was our wake up call at Cerro Dragon, one of the national parks visitor sites of Santa Cruz Island. It’s named after the land iguanas that inhabit the eroded parasitic cone – the name translated to English means Dragon Hill.

We began with a nice walk around the parasitic cone looking for the land Iguanas. Many iguanas were seen, one walked across the trail right next to us, it was looking for some juice fruits from the giant prickly pear cactus.

Later in the morning, after coming back on board, some of us went deep water snorkeling while others went back ashore for some beach time. The deep water snorkelers went along the remnants of an eroded tuff cone in the open ocean, a wall full of marine invertebrates as well as big schools of fish.

In the afternoon, we navigated to Chinese Hat, or Sombrero Chino, as it’s called in Spanish. We planned activities that gave us the opportunity to explore the land and the marine ecosystems. The kayaking and the zodiac tours showed geology and wildlife; and while snorkeling we found penguins, white tipped reef sharks and lots of fish.

At the beach our guests had the chance to relax and take in the amazing landscape –until a bull sea lion arrived to claim its territory – so we had to give up most of the beach for him. He made himself at home, rolling on the sand and heading towards our towels. He was very big yet very calm, and behaved with indifference to our presence. These close encounters with nature are what make Galápagos so special for all of us.

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