Bartholomew & Rabida Islands

Feb 19, 2018 - National Geographic Islander

It is six am and the sun colors the clouds in the sky as it rises, penguins jump in the water to start their feeding routine, and guests of the National Geographic Islander wake up to their first full expedition day in the Galapagos Islands. Today we had an early start with a morning walk up to the highest point of Bartholomew Island. As we walked on the wooden trail built by the Galapagos National Park, we learned about the geology of the Galapagos, and when we got to the top we were rewarded with the breathtaking view of the most iconic image of the Galapagos Islands, Pinnacle Rock on Bartholomew Island. This island looks like a rock fell from the sky, looking more like the moon than earth itself due to its rich ash soil, arctic looking vegetation, and its lack of wildlife. As we entered the water that surrounds this island we entered a different world. Snorkeling around Bartholomew is overwhelming, numerous sea stars color the bottom of the ocean, a diversity of fish swim back and forth as they feed and protect territories, and penguins abound. Yes, penguins! Galapagos penguins feeding and bathing in front of our eyes. We had an amazing start to the day with beautiful views and curious wildlife. After enjoying a typical Ecuadorian lunch buffet, the Captain moved the National Geographic Islander to a new island and we got to kayak, snorkel, and then hike on one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, Rabida Island. A spectacular red sand beach composed mainly of iron oxide, which is home to the Galapagos sea lions that come to rest, looking golden in the sunset light. Galapagos is truly a magical place where the sun rises and sets in harmony with the innocence and tameness of its wildlife!

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About the Author

Gianna Haro


Most of Gianna´s memories seem to be dreams, made on flawless white sandy beaches with black lava rock contours and gorgeous turquoise ocean waters. Most of it happened while barefoot, in an enchanting place that some people regard as an ideal natural laboratory, the Galápagos Islands. For her it was home. Gianna grew up going to the beach nearly every day, snorkeling in crystal clear waters, playing with wild flowers, having sea lions steal her ice cream, observing marine iguanas, and identifying invertebrates. The latter was by no means technically accurate—she dubbed each new discovery with its own made-up scientific name. At some point during those early years, being an observer became an innate ability and she knew she wanted to be a biologist. 

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