Apr 27, 2018 - National Geographic Islander
Small, barren, symmetrical, and hat-like, Sombrero Chino is a beautiful little island. Old lava flows are starting to become colonized by cacti. Lichens have already gotten a good start on the surface. However, we are primarily here to enjoy the wonders of the undersea world. But to begin…a Zodiac ride after breakfast in search of Galápagos penguins. Unlike other penguin species, these are not found by the hundreds, not even by the dozens, but in pairs, if we are lucky. Snorkeling, kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding was the aim of the morning, and in the afternoon, we changed locations to walk over newer, younger lava. In 1897 this flow emerged from a lateral vent of Santiago Island’s main volcano. It looks like it could have flowed out just 10 years ago—so uncolonized it is by vegetation, or eroded by weather. Our best human sculptors can only copy in marble the marvels that Mother Nature gifts us in her ripples, folds, and bends in basalt.
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