Bartholomew Island and Chinese Hat

Oct 25, 2018 - National Geographic Endeavour II


Early in the morning, we disembarked for a pre-breakfast outing to hike up to the summit of Bartholomew Island and learn about all the interesting geological features happening on this barren terrine.

As we hiked along this iron rusty terrain, we were able to understand the process of primary succession (how life establishes for the first time on a new place), some of the first pioneer species growing here, such as the endemic lava cactus and some native grasses on the cliffs. Plenty of small cinder cones were also seen all over the place, all of them colored by the rusty red iron and breaking down over the years through erosion.

We finally made it to the highest point of the island, where a breath-taking scenery waited for us. The landscape of north and south beach of Bartholomew with greenery in the middle, the same view shown in some of the scenes of the movie “Master and Commander”. After breakfast, we went snorkeling around Pinnacle rock, some of us chose to snorkel from the beach. While snorkeling we spotted several white-tipped reef sharks, a couple of Galapagos penguins swimming around us, and a large variety of colorful fish around the rocky reefs.

After lunch, National Geographic Endeavour ll repositioned to Chinese hat, a small satellite islet off the coast of Santiago Island. At Chinese hat, we went deep water snorkeling with reef sharks, chocolate chip sea stars, sea lions and schools of fish of all sorts. After snorkeling, we went Zodiac riding along the coast of Santiago and spotted a couple of Galapagos Penguins resting on the lava rocks.

We had an incredible day, swimming with penguins and sharks and hiking on remote islands. 

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About the Author

Jonathan Aguas

Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

Jonathan was born into one of only a handful of families that reaches back five generations in Galápagos, in the town of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, on San Cristobal Island. He first left the islands when he won a highly-coveted scholarship to finish his studies in the U.S.  This was the start of his life-long passion for science and languages.

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