This series of posts is about an 11-day liveaboard trip throughout the Galápagos Islands aboard the Deep Blue with the Master Liveaboard Fleet. Having shot several thousand images, I thought to share a few more here than on my other social channels, but be sure to check out my Instagram, TikTok, Youtube and Twitter for more. This part is about an included land stop on North Seymour Island. Have a look at the other posts in this series.
North Seymour Islands is located in the centre of the Galapagos Archipelago, directly next to Baltra Island. It is a small uninhabited island (only about 1.9 square kilometres in size) but home to thousands of birds and a population of Galápagos land iguanas (Conolophus subcristatus).
During a recent diving trip to the Galapagos Islands, North Seymour was one of two land visits that were part of the cruise, and we had a great one-and-a-half-hour walk along the trails present on the island (remember that a local guide who officially works for the Galápagos National Park must be present).
Already from the boat, we could see the hundreds of seabirds sitting along the rocky shoreline and circling above the island. The entire island is covered with low arid, bushy vegetation with some small trees and a Palo Santo and Opuntia Cactus forest. The present land iguanas feed on cactus pads and fruits, and there is an interesting back story to these stunning animals and their presence here on North Seymour.
Back in the 1930s, a naturalist called Allan Hancock decided to take a few dozen land iguanas from the neighbouring Baltra Island and release them on Nort Seymour, where no iguanas were present at the time, when the Americans set up a naval base on Baltra Island, the extractive activities by the American army led to a collapse of the Baltra land iguana population. This time, Hancock’s little experiment paid off, and land iguanas were captured on North Seymour and transported back to Baltra, where the population eventually recovered.
North Seymour is also home to a colony of swallow-tail gulls (Creagrus furcatus), a very specialised gull: it is the only full nocturnal (active at night) seabird in the world feeding on small fish and squid it catches at night. The Galapagos Islands are a truly special place with such an incredible abundance and variety of life..
The next stop will again be Wolf Island, with lots of spotted eagle rays and more hammerhead shark sightings! For now, have a look at the other posts in the Galápagos series below!
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Tom Vierus is an award-winning photographer, filmmaker, and marine biologist based in Suva, Fiji Islands. This blog is dedicated to his assignments and to sharing some behind-the-scenes footage.