After the lush highlands of Santa Cruz, it was time to visit the desert landscape of Bartolome Island with its much more recent evidence of volcanic activity, such as spatter cones, cinder cones, pyroclastic material, and tuff formations.
We disembarked early in the morning to walk up a wooden staircase to the top of Bartolome. The view was breathtaking. Along the trail we observed craters and lava flows, and some pioneer plants growing on barren lava. Back at the shoreline, we found a few Galapagos penguins feeding on sardines as we headed back to the ship for our own breakfast.
Afterward, we went to a beach to swim with penguins, rays, and multicolored fishes. The deepwater snorkeling was super. Our guests found a sea star garden with tons of them in all kinds of variation. Our intrepid snorkelers also saw sharks, turtles, moray eels, and an octopus or two. Some guests went exploring in a glass-bottom boat and found a big school of fish, black stripe salemas, more than 12 penguins chasing sardines. It was like being in a National Geographic documentary!
In the afternoon we visited Chinese Hat, a very small cone-shaped islet located at the foot of Santiago Island. The bay was quiet and the visibility in the turquoise water was perfect. Hundreds of creatures were doing their best to survive. Hunting, feeding, mating.
In the late afternoon, we took several Zodiacs to explore the shoreline and found several Galapagos penguins basking in the sun before going back into their caves for the night.
Some brown pelicans were catching the last fish of the day, while the setting sun painted the sky orange and the first constellations appeared.
Another spectacular day in the Galapagos!