Santiago: Sombrero Chino and Sullivan Bay

Apr 13, 2018 - National Geographic Islander

This morning the National Geographic Islander anchored in front of Sombrero Chino. Our first outing was a dingy ride between Sombrero Chino and Santiago Island. The landscape was amazing with a lot of candelabra cactus surrounded by spatter cones and morning glory flowers.  For the first time, during this expedition, we saw the Galapagos penguin, the only of its kind that lives at the equator. We also saw lava herons, great blue herons, pelicans and yellow-tailed mullets.

Later, at around 10 am, we snorkeled in the same place and observed a very rare fish, the Galapagos Searobin. This fish has modified spines located on their ventral fins; these spines are like legs and this species used these spines to search for their prey on sandy bottoms. We also saw white tip reef sharks. In addition, many other species of tropical fish and marine invertebrates including parrotfish, the panamic cushion sea star and the chocolate chip sea star.

In the afternoon, we visited Sullivan Bay, a landscape that remind as of the hardship that species had to face when they arrived to the islands, million years ago. We saw evidence of an eruption that happen more than 200 years ago. The texture of the lava fields were amazing.

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About the Author

Luis Vinueza


Luis arrived in the Galápagos Islands for the first time when he was 11 years old in 1983, and from that time on he knew that Galápagos would one day be his home. He returned to the islands in 1995 and spent 14 months camping in a tent. Seven of those months were spent on Española Island, studying the relationship of reproductive success and mate retention of Nazca boobies. In 1997, he started working for the marine lab at the Charles Darwin Research Station (CDRS) on different fields including diving surveys to assess the patterns of marine biodiversity around the Galápagos Marine Reserve. His research included counting lobsters and sea cucumbers and participating as an advisor for CDRS during the negotiation process that led to the 1998 creation of the Galápagos Marine Reserve. 

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