Sombrero Chino and Santiago Islands

Nov 24, 2017 - National Geographic Islander


We navigated most of the night across calm seas to anchor at dawn off the central island of Santiago. Today we visit islands that are not as old or as isolated as some of the small islands to the east we just visited. Hence, they do not have island specific endemic species, but they have plenty of interesting flora and fauna and many of the species that are found only in Galapagos.

The highlight of our morning visit to Sombrero Chino, which as its name implies, does look like a stereotypical Chinese hat, was the snorkeling! The water was clear, the fish species numerous and colorful, and we even saw several white tipped reef sharks.

In the afternoon we took a lava hike and enjoyed all the variety of textures in a flow that dates from 1897! Whaling vessels in the area reported a huge eruption that went on for months.

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About the Author

Lynn Fowler

Expedition Leader

Born in Baltimore, Maryland, and one of seven children, Lynn grew up in various university towns where her father was a professor of physics. Lynn obtained her B.A. in biology from Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana, followed by a master’s degree in zoology from the University of Florida, which encompassed a study of marine turtles in Costa Rica. She arrived in Galápagos in 1978 and became one of the first female naturalist guides working for the Galápagos National Park.

About the Photographer

Vanessa Gallo

Naturalist

Vanessa Gallo’s grandparents arrived in the Galápagos Islands in 1936, making her the third generation of her family to live and work in this magical archipelago. She left the islands for the capital city of Quito for high school, where she discovered that learning foreign languages was one of her main interests. Coming from a family of naturalist guides, it was not a surprise that she also became one at the age of 17. Vanessa left the islands once again for Switzerland, where she earned a diploma in tourism and strengthened her language skills and knowledge of the travel industry. She has also travelled extensively to destinations including as Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, Peru, Canada, the Canary Islands, Mauritius, and many European countries.

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