Chinese Hat and James Islands

Dec 07, 2018 - National Geographic Islander


Anchored in the bay of Chinese Hat, we contemplate the sunrise in the far east, our morning awaits and kayakers head out to explore the turquoise water surrounded by hectares of old and new lava. Wildlife abounds in the Galapagos Islands - many bird species, crabs on the rocks, sea lions swimming or resting on land, and all in the company of the knowledgeable park rangers.

Later, we explored the water to observe its richness and diversity. It’s easy to spot fish of different kinds as well as sea lions and other marine invertebrates. In the afternoon, we navigated to Sullivan Bay on Santiago Island where more kayaking and snorkeling was planned. Another fantastic area to observe the landscape and wildlife, both on land and in the sea. We visited another white sand beach. Later that afternoon, we enjoyed a Zodiac ride that took us to see the enigmatic Galapagos penguin.

To end the day, we walked on fresh lava, no more than 200 years of age. Its shapes and textures are a wonderful testimony of what happened to the cooling flows that made this island slightly larger on one side. It looks as primitive as it is beautiful.

The sun sets on a beautiful day.
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About the Author

Patricio Maldonado

Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

Patricio, better known as Pato amongst his friends, was born in the Galápagos Island. His family moved to the islands from the mainland and settled on the island of Santa Cruz over thirty-five years ago. Pato had an enchanted childhood in the islands, where his keen interest in the wildlife of the Galápagos was born initially through catching lizards and observing how they lost their tails. His experiences in the islands have led him to teach visitors about the need to protect this rare and unique environment.

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