Bartolomé and Sombrero Chino Islands

Dec 20, 2018 - National Geographic Endeavour II

We are in the central part of Galapagos, having a great time exploring and photographing these magnificent landscapes and the creatures that inhabit them.

On this warm day, the sun rose against the silhouette of Bartolome Island, our first stop. Before breakfast, we disembarked our Zodiacs and set foot on the small but amazing volcanic island, where the geology is exceptional. This island is quite young with very little flora or fauna. The complex process of colonization carried out by pioneer plants and animals is just beginning. These creatures include snakes and lava lizards, various insects and small plants that tolerate the typical heat and droughts of this region.

The Galápagos is not only a national park but also a vast marine reserve. Among the largest reserves in the world, it is of enormous importance for science, tourism, and the economy of the local people. We dove into these protected waters and communed with sea lions, penguins, sharks, and diamond stingrays.

After lunch, we anchored off Sombrero Chino Island, where the shore is made of new black basalt. It is home to seabirds, sea lions, and marine iguanas. Once we entered the water, we swam above white-tipped reef sharks! We also spotted black-stripped salemas and many other types of fish such as parrotfish, tiger snake eels, and yellow-tailed razors.

After a celebratory dinner, Captain Eduardo Neira played the guitar and sang for all our guests. 

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About the Author

Gilda Gonzalez


Gilda was born in Ambato, located in the very heart of the Ecuadorian Andes. Since she was a child, she loved animals, often rescuing street cats and dogs. Her parents always made sure there were nature books and plenty of Jacques Cousteau’s videos at home. She graduated from high school with a degree in chemistry and biology. Afterwards, Gilda obtained a B.A. in tourism and hotel management in Quito. She also studied English, French and German, later spending two months in Brussels, Belgium.

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