From the National Geographic Islander in Galápagos July 26, 2010
Although it is one of the smallest islands of the archipelago, Bartolomé is one of the most scenic areas in the islands due to its geology. On the other hand, Santiago has almost all the vegetation zones of Galápagos thanks to its height, offering us a colorful landscape.
Our second day in Galápagos began with an optional wake-up call to visit Bartolomé Island. At the first sight, the landscape looked infertile due to the lack of big trees, but when walking along the wooden stairs built into the hillside to prevent erosion, you begin to notice small pioneer bushes and elusive lava lizards that observed us attentively as if trying to show the island was not completely desolate. We observed the solidified rivers of lava and parasitic cones, remains of volcanism of the island a long time ago. Finally we arrived to the summit of Bartolomé; from here the landscape looked gorgeous, with a foreground of the pinnacle rock and more than twenty islands and islets at the distance.
Our second outing began with a landing on a golden beach, just beside pinnacle rock. Our guests had the opportunity to observe the marine diversity – a product of arrivals from varying parts of the sea. It was amazing to observe as rays, tropical fish, sea lions and sharks were the delight of our guests. Before midday, the National Geographic Islander raised anchor, heading to Santiago.
As soon we arrived at Puerto Egas at Santiago Island, Ernesto headed out with the kayakers along the coastline, discovering hidden caves along the black cliffs. Meanwhile at the black sand beach, a group of guests interacted with a great variety of wildlife. The best was probably observing a group of green sea turtles foraging on rocks completely covered of green algae. The last activity was a walk along the seashore of Santiago Island. The marine iguanas looked larger than those we observed yesterday at North Seymour. It was low tide, and the naked rocks showed us their abundance with greenery – it looked like a grazing pasture with iguanas instead of sheep. We observed many species of seabirds and waders by the time we arrived at the grottos. There, a group of fur sea lions resting on the rocks yawned without paying any attention to us.
Leaving behind the innocent creatures, the old lighthouse began to illuminate, showing us the path back to National Geographic Islander, our home during this beautiful week.
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