Daphne Major Island



Located north of Santa Cruz, Daphne Major is most known for Peter and Rosemary Grant's work—spanning 40 years—on Darwin finches. Two species of boobies and tropic birds also nest there, and it is not uncommon to see Galapagos martins, short-eared owls and frigate birds, as well as Nazca and blue-footed boobies.

This island is a tuff cone, which was formed by repeated volcanic eruptions where the lava mixed with water. Today, the island is barren of trees, and its peak is 393 ft/120 m above sea level. The biodiversity is mirrored underwater in a pair of dive sites frequented by sharks, sea lions, seahorses and turtles, who lay their eggs on the nearby shore.

Most tours do not stop off on Daphne because it is limited to small boats of 16 or fewer passengers. Those visiting the island must have special permission to land there, and excursions off the trails are prohibited.
Daphne Minor doesn't offer any visitor sites, but diving just off the coast is spectacular. In addition to seahorses, sharks, sea lions, sea turtles and eagle rays, divers can view benthic organisms that lend the water a luminous quality.

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