Bartolome and Chinese Hat

Sep 28, 2017 - National Geographic Endeavour II


Our sixth day aboard the National Geographic Endeavor II in the Galápagos Islands was a memorable one! We started the morning with a visit to Bartolomé Island, which is one of the younger landforms in the archipelago. The landscape of Bartolomé is picturesque, with orange beaches leading to smooth lava rocks sloping high into the sky. Many of us hiked 375 steps to a hilltop, which provided an iconic panorama shot of the Galápagos Islands.

After the hike, we returned to the ship for a hearty breakfast before grabbing our snorkeling gear and heading back to a Bartolomé beach. We snorkeled around the large Pinnacle Rock, a well-known landmark of the island. It was around this rock that we spotted two white-tipped reef sharks sleeping against the ocean floor. Many other creatures joined us during this snorkel, including an octopus, green sea turtle, and several brown pelicans. The visibility was clear, the water was warm, and colorful life was everywhere along this island. It was a snorkeler’s paradise!

After the beach snorkel, many got back on the Zodiac and zipped over to another location near the island for a deep-water snorkel. It was here that we were very close to two Galápagos penguins; we also spotted seven reef sharks in a little cove, glided next to a sea turtle, and observed a stingray feed against the ocean sand. It was a fabulous day for viewing marine life!

We then returned to the ship for a wonderful Mexican-themed lunch, served by our talented chefs and wait staff. After lunch our Naturalist, Christian, provided us with an informative presentation on the human history of the Galápagos and discussed how important it is to protect these unique and beautiful islands. Many then quickly jumped back into their wetsuits for our third snorkel of the day, which was at an island called “Sombrero Chino” or “Chinese Hat”—named after its distinctive shape. This snorkel had more wildlife still—as we had viewings of octopus, pufferfish, and parrotfish. We even saw a sea lion chase away a shark!

Later that evening, we hopped back into the Zodiac for a blissful ride around Sombrero Chino to view more animals. We saw frigate birds, pelicans, and blue-footed boobies. A penguin swam right up to the boat, which made for some great photos! It was a peaceful way to view the majesty of the island.

Cocktail hour was next, where Jason, our Underwater Specialist, showed us some of the photos and videos he has taken on our ship. Our Expedition Leader, Paula, then gave the itinerary for tomorrow and David, the Video Chronicler on board, presented us part of the video he has been working on as well. We then retreated to the dining room, where he had a barbecue feast for dinner!

We ended the day with fantastic music provided to us by our very own staff. The captain, Eduardo, one of our Naturalists, Christian, and two Naturalists-in-training, Billy and Bernie, all sang and played together. This was a joyous and magical way to end yet another unforgettable day in the Galápagos Islands. 

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Rachel Rost

Rachel Rost

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