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Bartolome & Sombrero Chino Islands

Jan 18, 2018 - National Geographic Endeavour II


Today we have continued our adventure which seems unreal. We are all bonding as one, as the Galapagos brings magic to our souls and mind.

This morning we visited Bartolome Island, which has been called “the open book of geology” by many of us, because this deserted island has doesn’t have any palo santo trees, which is the most prominent tree elsewhere in the Galapagos. Therefore, we could see small craters, cones, volcanic ash even liquid frozen lava on this 2.5 million-year-old satellite island. Some of us opted for a walk to its summit, taking us over 375 wooden steps to 315 feet of altitude for one of the most impressive views in the archipelago. From this tall vantagepoint, we could see many volcanoes of different sizes, colors and shapes. Others opted for water activities, including snorkeling and swimming at the beach searching for sharks, Galapagos penguins and fish.

After this full morning, we returned to the National Geographic Endeavour II for lunch as our captain and officers repositioned our ship. This was a great opportunity to show our maneuvers at the bridge to our young visitors as part of our open bridge policy combined with our Nat Geo Global Explorer Program. While we were underway to our next destination, our naturalist, Jose Guerrero presented a talk about Charles Darwin.

We arrived at Sombrero Chino and immediately started our water activities, including kayaking, paddle-boarding, snorkeling, and Zodiac-riding along the cost. We saw Galapagos penguins, white-tipped sharks, sea lions, eagle rays, fishes of all kinds, and the impressive volcanic landscape surrounded by turquoise water, under the vast blue sky and white puffy clouds. What a day. We returned to the ship recharged with excitement and feeling very lucky to be here.

We have made it to the Galapagos for this “epic-voyage” and it was not easy. Statistics show that of the more than seven billion humans in this world, only a few make it to the Galapagos; in contrast, Hawaii is visited by twelve million, Yellowstone Park three million, Machu Picchu one million visitors and finally, Galapagos Islands, with only 236,000 visitors per year. That is why I say, today we were honored to be part of their unforgettable experience, and we hope that this experience will inspire them to make a positive change in this wonderful world of ours.

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About the Author

Celso Montalvo

Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

Celso was born in Guayaquil, Ecuador. At the age of nine he arrived in the Gal├ípagos for the first time and he was profoundly touched by nature, observation, and isolation.  When he saw the sharks, rays and turtles swimming in the bay, he was triggered by a sense of wonder that he did not feel before.  Celso believes education is key to preservation. After graduating from the Naval Academy at the age of 17 he moved to New York to continue his education.

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