Apr 12, 2018 - National Geographic Endeavour II
After watching a gorgeous sunrise from the lounge with an early morning coffee in hand accompanied by delicious zucchini bread, we headed off at 6:15 am in the Zodiacs, passing iconic Pinnacle Rock towards Bartolome, a satellite islet of Santiago Island. We walked uphill along a wooded staircase passed different geological formations such as tuff and spatter cones, plus the darker basaltic lava flows that cover this relatively young island. Lava lizards scurried around the tiquilia nesiotica and lava cactus. These pioneer plants, those first to establish themselves on the barren lava islands, give us a glimpse of how life started in the Galapagos Archipelago.
The first of two snorkels trips started at 10 am, after a well-deserved breakfast buffet. We saw white-tipped reef sharks, schools of yellow-tailed surgeonfish with king angelfish in their midst, and a rare sighting of the elusive longnose butterfly fish (usually found only off Wolf and Darwin islands). The night sky dazzles bright full of stars in the galaxies, however, this unique underwater ecosystem also shone in spender as we swam amidst the multitude of panamic, blue and chocolate-chip sea stars.
Later in the afternoon we visited Chinese Hat, another satellite islet of Santiago Island, for our second snorkel adventure of the day. We were greeted by a pair of Galapagos Penguins who call theses rocky shores home. Under a rocky ledge rested a very large marbled ray, a red lobster and three young white-tipped reef sharks, all in natural harmony, and we ended the evening with star gazing.