Bartolome and Rábida Island

May 14, 2018 - National Geographic Islander

Sunrise was spectacular, it was the first gift of the day at 6:15 am, we disembarked to explore Bartolome Island, which is a secondary volcano from James Island, Bartolome id the most iconic spot because of the very peculiar formation called pinnacle rock, it is like the Eiffel Tower of Galapagos.

We climbed 345 wooden steps to the top of the summit where the view is breathtaking; along the way you can see few volcanic formations as cinder cones, spatter cones, lava flows etc. Wildlife is not abundant because of the dryness of the place; some lava lizards and finches take benefit of the few insects and plants that established there.

After the morning exploration, we came back on board to have breakfast then we went to the beach to swim and to have an easy snorkeling, other guests went to the coast for deep water snorkeling. They had great experiences with plenty of marine wildlife. The highlight was a flock of 15 penguins swimming along the shoreline and a sea lion eating a fish, because of that a Galapagos shark came so close to us. That was a memorable morning!

In the afternoon we motored for 3 hours to reach Rábida Island, it is red because of the quantity of iron oxide that makes the beach of the place so colorful a unique. On this red sand, you find few sea lions resting after being in the water few days to catch some fish. The afternoon was so delightful, many blue-footed boobies were diving as torpedoes in search of food, and suddenly few sharks came so close to the beach chasing a school of black stripped salemas, so, the feeding frenzy started! What a show, pelicans came to take benefit of this action to eat some fish that beach themselves.

Snorkeling took place too, as always it was incredible experience; The Galapagos is considered one of the best places of the world for snorkeling and scuba diving due to the healthy marine ecosystems you find there.

We walked in land to spot few types of finches and mocking birds, The vegetation is also very interesting, the prickly pear opuntia cactus are very short but they produce the biggest amount of fruits in all the archipelago, Plants also have evolved in isolation and every island you see have different types of plants or different species.

At the end of the day sunset was astonishing, the frosting on the cake for such a great day we had!

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About the Author

Christian Saa

Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

Christian was born on the island of Isabela in the Galápagos archipelago. He grew up on a farm and had a magical childhood devoid of cars, electricity, telephones—just pure nature and playful sea lions along the beach. At the age of seven, he moved with his family to Santa Cruz Island, the economic hub of the Galápagos Islands. His father began to work in tourism and took Christian around the islands during school vacations. It was during this time that Christian learned to love and understand the real value of this unique archipelago, and he decided to devote his life to its stewardship. A lifelong passion for nature and its creatures took root in his heart, and he eventually decided to become a naturalist, which he has now been doing for 18 years now.

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