Galapagos Cruise Report: Dragon’s Hill and Chinese Hat

From the National Geographic Endeavour in Galápagos August 5, 2010

Today we started our activities at Dragon’s Hill. Weather was mild; clouds covered the equatorial sky of the northwest corner of Santa Cruz Island.

This place was named after the land iguanas, which are considered the Galápagos’s Dragons. The population of land iguanas in this area was restored by efforts of the Galápagos National Park. It took a lot of work for them to rein in control of feral mammals such as dogs, cats, goats and donkeys brought by early Galápagos settlers.

On our way to the land iguanas’ territory, we spotted some shore birds feeding on brine shrimps and other crustaceans in a seasonal brackish lagoon. The water level of the lagoon was very low due the dry conditions typical during this time of the year.

After the hike we had to choose among different options. We could snorkel from the beach nearby Dragon’s Hill or go deep water snorkeling in one of the Guy Fawkes Islets. Water conditions were slightly rough, but the underwater activity was great. Surgeon fish, King Angel fish, damsel fish, sea lions and many others were swimming with us near an incredible drop-off covered with colorful invertebrates. It was a nice experience.

In the afternoon, National Geographic Endeavour sailed northwestwards to Chinese Hat, a very small volcano nearby Santiago Island, surrounded by small spatter cones creating a dramatic landscape. The options were many: Snorkeling, kayaking, Zodiac rides or simply enjoy relaxing on a coralline sand beach with playful sea lions.

It seems that every day is getting better; the islands surprised us today with their wonders. I can’t wait to see what’s next.


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