Aboard the National Geographic Islander in Galapagos

Bartolomé and Santiago Islands

A slight breeze welcomed us early in the morning as National Geographic Islander arrived at Bartolomé, a small but intense central island of Galápagos. This island is spectacular for its resemblance to our planet’s satellite; from which it has gotten its nickname: Moonscape Island.

Any doubts our guests may have had about getting up early to climb a volcano were dissipated as soon as we touched land. An overwhelming feeling invaded our senses as we made progress into such a hostile but prosperous environment. Seeing the pioneer plants gaining space little by little, taking advantage of any available shade even though the existence of this shade is just of a brief duration was certainly encouraging. Everyone on our expedition developed a different understanding of the meaning of life after such an encounter. As the morning went on, we engaged ourselves in another outstanding activity — snorkeling. The clear and not-so-cold ocean gave us a splendid time, and we were surrounded by multi-colored fish of all sorts.

Inexorably the time went by and we had to move to a different destination, so we did. The tuff cone known as Cousins laid onto portside of the boat as we navigated to James Bay on the island of Santiago. Once there, some of our guests chose to go to the beach for a little stroll and some went swimming while still others went for our first kayaking experience, which was phenomenal. To be able to explore the coastline of James Bay is not something that could be done every day due to the usual rough seas of this place, yet; there we were doing just so. Galápagos sea lions and turtles were our company along the way, enhancing our experience with their presence. Once both activities, beach strolling and kayaking, were over we passed onto still a different one, exploring one of the most impressive trails of the Galápagos, Puerto Egas. There we had contact with many shorebirds, sea lions and a particular cute yellow warbler taking a bath in a saltwater pond.

With so many activities for the afternoon, the sun went down pretty quickly, and by the time we were back at the beach in order to return to the ship, it was pretty dark. Yes, we called it a day—and a very fruitful one.

Ernesto Vaca Norero, Naturalist

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