Bartolome and Sombrero Chino

Mar 29, 2018 - National Geographic Endeavour II

Guests onboard the National Geographic Endeavour II spent the day exploring Bartolome and Sombreo Chino Islets, learning about geology and marine life. Naturalists explained how these centrally located islets were formed by secondary vents surrounding the periphery of their mother volcano, Santiago Island. Guests learned that Bartolome Islet is in fact a large tuff cone; when the islet was forming, the secondary vent was inundated with seawater. This caused a violent eruption sending fine volcanic ash into the air that eventually settled and compacted to form Bartolome Islet.

Perhaps the highlight of the day was our time spent exploring the underwater world of these incredible islets. The weather was absolutely delightful, with water temperatures around 77F and clear skies. The visibility allowed guests to see in great detail some of the ocean’s most magnificent creatures. These areas are famous for their abundance of white-tip reef sharks, Galapagos sharks, and black-tip reef sharks. With two snorkeling excursions, guests got up close to these magnificent creatures. Some snorkeling groups saw up to 15 white tips, and a lucky few witnessed a parasite taking a free ride around the gills of a white tip reef shark. We often witness these magnificent creatures resting in caves or on the ocean floor. They are able to breathe during these resting periods because they filter water through their spiracles to send oxygen rich water across their gills. Guests learned all about shark ecology and abundance in Galapagos.

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About the Author

Alexandra Widman

Alexandra Widman

About the Photographer

Socrates Tomala

Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

Socrates was raised on Santa Cruz Island located in the heart of Galapagos Archipelago.  After a childhood filled with swimming, scuba diving, rock climbing and volunteering in conservation projects, he grew very passionate about the outdoors and the natural world. 

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