From the National Geographic Endeavour in Galapagos
Oct 18, 2012 - National Geographic Endeavour
Bartolomé Island and Chinese Hat Islet
The day was sunny and perfect; the landscape is dramatic and deserted, dry an inhospitable. The rain shadow phenomenon is more visible here, the trade winds coming from the south are cold and rich in moisture, but this humidity stays only at the south side of the islands where it is greener and you find lush vegetation, while the north side is gray and dry. This is because some islands are up to 3000 feet high, and this elevation does not allow the moisture to pass to the north.
It is 6:30 a.m., Bartolomé is our place to explore this morning; the pinnacle rock found there is the icon of Galapagos, the most representative scenery and one of the most breathtaking views. We landed to walk uphill and see several volcanic formations such as cinder cones, spatter cones and lava flows, the geology of the place is amazing and our travelers are astonished to observe all these craters that looks like mars or the moon. Once there, you feel like you are on another planet. Then we came back to our home to have breakfast and to get ready for more adventure on the beach, where we were snorkeling with sharks and multicolor fish. We spotted many sea stars on the sandy bottom. I was in charge of the underwater filming this week, and I was lucky to find many marine creatures, like the octopus that stayed with me for about five minutes, and showed how well it camouflages to trick predators. Some of our travelers were swimming with penguins and small sting rays that came close to the shore. We really enjoyed this amazing place.
Later in the afternoon we motored to Chinese Hat, a very small flat top islet located not far from Bartolomé. We went to snorkel again with penguins and marine iguanas; these reptiles are really aquatic, they feed on algae and hold their breath up to 45 minutes under the water. They are one of the most incredible examples of adaption on the islands.
The zodiac ride was another activity offered to our guests. We found more Galapagos penguins resting on the black lava, herons and pelicans. As the seconds passed, the sun was setting, giving the sky magic colors. The night came and we returned to the National Geographic Endeavour. Tonight our chef has prepared a BBQ dinner around the pool, an excellent way to end a fantastic day in Galapagos. I feel privileged to have been born and living here, the enchanted Islands that many want to know. Once they come here, they don’t want to leave.