Nor have we missed the opportunity to disembark on Santiago Island, where we can still observe the remains of the last and most recent volcanic eruption.
Crossing the island of Santa Cruz towards
Our goal today is to the north of Santa Cruz Island, so we will have to get up early and have breakfast at the Finch Bay earlier than these days ago, around 7. Yesterday our Lion yacht, after the excursion to Plaza Sur, it was docked in the Itacaba Canal, so our initial journey today from Puerto Ayora is the same as we would do to go to the international airport located on the island of Baltra, crossing the island in about 1 hour. Later we will sail to Bartolome Island ...
What is most surprised is that when we believe that nothing can surprise us, a new day full of surprises appears and today it would not be less. We review our passage through the base of Santa Cruz.Excursions in Santa Cruz:
- By free near Puerto Ayora: Tortuga Bay, Las Grietas, Charles Darwin Research Station, Mansa Beach, Station Beach, El Mirador ...
- Taking a taxi or public bus further from Puerto Ayora: Garrapatero (beach 19 km), giant turtle reserves in El Chato or Manzanillo (near Santa Rosa), Los Gemelos (volcanoes near Santa Rosa), Media Luna (5 km trail), Cerro Crocker (the highest hill of the island)…
- Santa Fe: Full-day excursion ($ 100-150 USD). Martian place. Giant cactus. Iguana endemic. Snorkell with sea lions.
- South Plaza: Full-day excursion ($ 100-150 USD). Martian place. Land and marine iguanas. Bifurcated Tail Gulls ...
- North Seymour: Full-day excursion ($ 100-150 USD). Bird nesting (blue-footed boobies, frigates ...), sea lions, marine and land iguanas ...
- Bartholomew: Full-day excursion ($ 100-150 USD). The best panoramic with the pinnacle in the background. The origin of the archipelago, lava fields, dwarf penguins, boobies, sea lions ...
Santa Fe, South Plaza, the Manzanillo giant turtle reserve, the Charles Darwin Research Station or our shelter in Playa de los Alemanes where we sleep every night, have been our main visits in Santa Cruz, as before The Lobería or Sleeping Lion in San Cristobal. Today, Bartolome Island is possibly the longest distance (1 hour by bus and 2 hours of navigation) to which we have moved from a base.
Another beautiful day takes us to the bow of the ship, where the breeze, the sun and seeing the rays jump around us, along with the little swing of the Lion, plunges us into a kind of hypnosis that leads us haunted.
The Bartholomew Pinnacle and its dwarf penguins
It is possible that in the writing of these stories our passion for the universe of fauna so extraordinary and close to man has eclipsed something as important as its surroundings. Galapagos is much more than sea lions, endemic iguanas or blue-footed birds. Extraterrestrial enclaves or of invaluable flora have served as an unbeatable backdrop
The Lion slows down. In the distance we see it. Is the famous Pinnacle of Bartholomew, the Galapagos icon We have seen so much in photos and postcards during these days or online. But not only this geological formation, but the set of bays, beaches and panoramas of beautiful beauty are those that form a whim of nature that the archipelago gives us.
Although we are still very few, today we will go down in two visiting groups. Our desire makes us go out in the first one along with Lis (happy to have met you if you read us) and see you soon a new "friend" we hadn't seen yet during all these days. Is it that the catalog does not end? It seems not
Slowly, with the medium gas engines, we advance with our zodiak towards the rocky edges that protrude from the sea level of the islet of Bartholomew, which takes the name of Sir James Sulivan Bartholomew, Lieutenant of HMS Beagle and friend of Darwin. Here appears a being of small size, just 30-40 cm.
Is a Pygmy Galapagos penguin, one of the smallest on the planet next to Australia and New Zealand, but the only one in the world that reaches the Northern Hemisphere (the ones we had seen at higher latitudes were those of Ballestas Islands in Peru). Unlike those nice animals we saw in our trip to Antarctica, these look for temperate temperatures and even sun, entering the water just to refresh (which is what the male who appears from the water did with a nice jump in front of us before the call of the female)
We border the coastline to the area closest to the Bartolome Pinnacle. In this zone two blue-footed boobies They rest in the shade and practically ignore us despite our uproar. We are still unable to hunt down those little legs that we want to immortalize so much
We continue furrowing the waters and, while some sea lion will now wear sunglasses (which Lis insists on giving them away), we find another couple in love.
It seems that we have been lucky to capture them. Only 5% of a total of 2,000 specimens (are in danger of extinction) live in Bartolomé, Santiago or Floreana, the rest being distributed between Isabela and Fernandina, and rarely seen on the coasts of Colombia or Panama.
Every day is a treasure that we keep in our small large bottle of memories and today this small copy has touched
Santiago, the island of solidified lava
We disembarked on Santiago Island and I can't help remembering those lava fields of Savai'i (Samoa) that the Matavanu volcano wash left its last eruption a century ago. Sulliván Bay is identical
Although Santiago is an island of abundant vegetation and high humidity areas, this area has been reduced to a inert zone of life but that, nevertheless, leaves one of the most beautiful views of Bartholomew
Of the entire Galapagos archipelago, Bartolomé is one of the youngest islets and the one area with the most volcanic activity, whose last recent eruption still allows the identification of the so-called "pahoehoe", a smooth crust that the most fluid lava flows present when cooled.
Our guide tells us. It seems that our partners have already finished in the other part of the visit, so we turn to something that will be very familiar to us.
The panorama of Bartholomew, a gift in sight
There are 300 steps from a small artificial dock that separate the sea level from the most beautiful window to this place we can get.
Other Martian landscape, purely volcanic and seasoned with first-born plants (the first born and create organisms), is presented to us as an example that life is making its way
Essential advice: In addition to comfortable shoes, do not forget for this excursion sunscreen of important factor, hat or cap and one or several bottles of water
Black, orange, green or blue of all shades are the spectacle that these stairs, with several viewpoints prepared for the best panoramic photos, offer us as we ascend
And finally we arrived! It's the picture! The perfect angle to observe the two islands of the Galapagos archipelago, the beauty of its bays joined by narrow isthmus, that small strip of land that opens to the sea and offers the best beaches we have seen in all these days
It's the snapshot and also the corner where to hear the sound of Galapagos. Listen to the play of sea lions, the flight of migratory birds, the swimming of turtles or penguins and even the scourge of the wind at 114 meters high.
It is a gift for the eyes. A treasure for a traveler. Another one of those moments that stop time and that have been many since our entry a few days ago
We descend on our steps. It is a spectacle of life. Sea lions play on the pier. Marine iguanas or scarlet red shell zayapas watch us
But the day does not end here. A sun like this cannot be missed, and the Bartholomew Pinnacle offers around it something that cannot be seen with the naked eye
The marine life of the Bartholomew Pinnacle
The natural obelisk that this picturesque geological formation resembles hides another underworld in its seabed, one of unlimited aquatic life. A small and tasty piscolabis and ... To put on the dingui and pataranas! (as they call the snorkeling material, haha)
Fish of all colors, starfish (and say that even seahorses), sea turtles, dry cleaners and all kinds of flora embedded in the rocks that serves as food for all of them, are some of those present on a walk that also takes us to observe from a privileged perspective those blue-footed boobies that we are so passionate about and that resist us
And then they appear! Do not miss the appointment. It seems that if you are lucky you can even swim with penguins although those who never fail are those sea lions that enjoy playing with you without fear none
It does not take off from us or when we are losing depth and we get closer to the white sand beach, although for a moment I do not distinguish to know who is enjoying more, whether the young lion or Sele himself. Jump, jump, turn, approach ... until after a good while another session ends in which we had VIP box
And the rest of the day? Ufs, it is difficult with this bar to comment on something more than such an intense day. Our return from the beach to the Lion leaves us one of those meals that you would repeat all day (they cook very well, you have to recognize it). The 2 hours back Canal de Itacaba, and even the return by bus, were strange, as if both Sele and I came self-absorbed in our thoughts, in an attempt to absorb and assume everything we were living.
Today we would not sleep in the Finch Bay of Puerto Ayora. At the intersection of Santa Rosa and Manzanillo where yesterday we went to see the giant Galapagos turtles, Reyna and Roberto are waiting for us, whom we will meet and who take us to Monte Mar, 3 sustainable villas on a farm surrounded by free wild turtleswhere will we spend the night
The story of an unforgettable dinner with a fireplace, that tasty sashimi and grilled fish prepared by Roberto and the Reyna concoction, are object of another story. We open the bed and quickly enter a deep trance of the fatigue we bring, such that sometimes it is difficult to distinguish the thin line that separates it from reality. !See you tomorrow everyone! See you tomorrow family!
Isaac, from Santa Rosa - Galapagos Islands (Ecuador)
EXPENSES OF THE DAY: 0 USD (excursion and hotel in final summary)