Sombrero Chino & Sullivan Bay, Santiago Island

Mar 16, 2018 - National Geographic Islander

Today we woke up to the view of extensive lava flows surrounded by crystal clear waters and sandy bottoms. The morning expedition took place above and under water, in the breathtaking channel between Sombrero Chino Islet and Santiago Island. We kayaked, paddle boarded, went zodiac driving and lastly snorkeled with penguins, sharks, rays, sea lions and many fish. In the afternoon, we went looking for more penguins from the zodiacs and then hiking on one of the many lava flows of Santiago Island, the Sullivan Bay flow. This is the youngest lava flow on this island and dates back to the 1897, even though this flow is 120 years old there are only some pioneer plants such as lava cactus and mollugos. It will take many more years for the soil to be ready and other plants to establish and for wildlife to follow. The beauty of this flow reminds us how amazing nature is, being able to go from bare lava rock to beautiful green incense tree forests, just like it happens in the Galapagos Islands. We went back onboard having spent another stunning day in paradise with a spectacular sunset lighting our way back to the ship!

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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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