Jun 22, 2018 - National Geographic Islander
We left Santa Fe Island behind and after a long navigation, and early in the morning we arrived at Sombrero Chino, a small island that lies just off the southern tip of Santiago. Its barren landscape offers a spectacular view of the geology and the arrival of pioneer plants to the archipelago. It was sunny when riding Zodiacs and we headed to the shore of the island. The water was so clear that it was possible to observe some sea lions and mullets swimming along the coralline bottom of the channel that separates Sombrero Chino from Santiago. While on the rocks, a juvenile Galapagos penguin tried to warm its body with the first beams of sun. Afterwards, we returned to the channel to discover the incredible underwater world. The visibility and temperature of the water were great, permitting our guests to observe a great number of colorful fish, Galapagos and white tipped reef sharks. Some sea lions were our companions during the last part and finally, we could observe two large stingrays swimming indifferently among of us.
In the afternoon National Geographic Islander was repositioned at the southern of Santiago or James Island. In the distance the barren landscape contrasted with the greenery of the highlands, making it possible to see huge black lava flows along the Island, which eruption occurred in 1897 and destroyed all evidence of life there. At 4PM, with excellent weather conditions, we set foot in Sullivan Bay. We walked pahoehoe or ropy lava formations observing a great number of eroded tuff cones, mute witnesses of explosive eruptions occurred years ago. We observed some lava lizards, pioneer’s plants and large painted locust along the trail that led us to the old lava flows and formations, that looked brownish with spatter cones that formed a surrealist landscape like mars or a lunarscape. It was late in the afternoon when we came back onboard, observing as the sun colored the mountains and illuminated our happy faces while in our minds those incredible and innocent creatures we observed today, will be remembered by us forever.
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