From the National Geographic Endeavour in Galápagos July 23, 2010
It was a nice and cool morning with a gentle breeze blowing from the southeast. Our first outing was on the beautiful island of Bartolomé, whose size is just over one square kilometer. In spite of its small size, it is the best place to visit when we talk about impressive volcanic landscapes and geological formations.
The island has cinder cones and volcanic ash fields, which are home to pioneer plants that struggle for their daily survival in a harsh environment that does not offer more than rocks and dry ash.
The hike started at 6:30am, and we headed to the top of the island where the reward is the view of the spectacular pinnacle rock and the golden beaches on both sides of Bartolomé and Santiago Islands with their vast lava flows. Here on Santiago Island, Darwin stayed for some days during his famous voyage around the world aboard HMS Beagle.
It was still just the beginning of the morning, so after breakfast we headed to the beach for snorkelling and relaxing at the base of pinnacle rock. Snorkelling was great with sightings of many tropical fish as well as penguins and white-tipped reef sharks.
Late in the afternoon, we landed on Santiago Island. Some of us snorkelled with sea lions and a myriad of fish in these calm waters. Others went for a relaxing walk along the shoreline while the sunset, listening to the sounds of nature: the iguanas sneezing, the birds, the ocean, the sea lions and the Galápagos fur seals.
Walking through the tidal area is one of the best places for bird watchers and photographers due to the variety of wildlife. By sunset, we were ending the tidal walk and concluding a day that went beyond our expectations.
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