Day 1 - October 12, 2013 - Santa Cruz Island, Cerro Dragon
By Maria Elena Aviles, Naturalist
Weather: Sunny Winds
Air Temperature: 25ºC
Pressure: 960 hPa
Wind: 5 knots
Silver Galapagos had arrived to Baltra Island in the morning after an exciting week in western Galapagos. Frigate birds took turns to visit the ship as it was docked at the port waiting for our guests to arrive.
Baltra Island used to hold the largest American Army Base on the eastern Pacific back during Second World War. Later on it became an Ecuadorian Army Base and its airport was the first and only commercial airport in the Galapagos for many years. This airport was recently replaced by a modern, ecological airport, and that is the reason why I went there in the morning to meet our guest. As we were coming to the ship, a Galapagos land iguana startled us with her nonchalant stroll across the road. This sighting was just the beginning!
Our guests arrived before midday and were warmly welcomed on board with cool drinks before we gathered at the Explorer Room for the customary welcoming briefing and mandatory safety drill given by our Expedition Leader, Daniel Arteaga. We then enjoyed a delicious lunch and our guests got settled into their suites. Shortly after, Silver Galapagos was on her way for the start of our North and Central Galapagos Expedition.
We arrived to Cerro Dragon in Santa Cruz Island in the afternoon. As soon as we disembarked we were welcomed by Galapagos marine iguanas at the dock; flamingos, black necked stilts and plovers on a tide pool kept feeding as we went by. The sun light quality was such that flamingos seemed unreal… I guided my group through a magically perfumed forest of native Palo Santo until we reached an old tuff cone, and there they were, these dragon like creatures, yellow coloured Galapagos land iguanas basking on the slopes of this bizarre looking volcanic ash formation! Our journey was a success.
We came back to the ship where the captain and officers toasted us to a great expedition, enjoyed a fantastic first dinner and then settled in for our first night at sea.
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