Bartolome Island and Sombrero Chino

Mar 28, 2019 - National Geographic Endeavour II


Guests onboard National Geographic Endeavour II spent the day exploring Bartolomé Island and Sombrero Chino. In large part, the day was dominated by undersea exploration. However, we began the day with an early morning, pre-breakfast hike on Bartolomé Island to enjoy a spectacular vantage point of Santiago Island. Bartolomé Island is a satellite island of Santiago. It was formed by parasitic vents that ultimately feed from the larger mother vent of Santiago Island. Guests learned about the interesting and varied geological formations of the island, including spatter cones and volcanic ash. We discussed the vegetative landscape of the island, which is extremely limited to only those plant species adapted to the harshest environments – the pioneer plants.

After breakfast, guests had the option to spend time snorkeling at Sullivan Beach, where we observed rays and juvenile sharks on the shoreline. Upon returning from the beach we left immediately for our deep-water snorkeling excursion around the perimeter of Bartolomé; the snorkeling was absolutely spectacular. Oceanic conditions were in our favor: visibility was excellent, the water temperature was pleasant, and there was very little current. This site is particularly special because we have the opportunity to observe warm water species living side by side with Antarctic species, like the Galapagos penguin. We observed white tip reef sharks, a plethora of tropical reef fishes that were new to our guests, a hidden octopus, and swimming sea lions and Galapagos penguins.

After lunch we disembarked for our third snorkeling excursion of the day at Sombrero Chino. Guests came into contact with tropical fishes, several large white tip reef sharks, rays, and Galapagos garden eels. After snorkeling, there was a quick turnover before our sunset Zodiac cruise along the coast of Sombrero Chino. Guests observed several Galapagos penguins perched on the rock ledges, as well as diving brown pelicans.

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About the Author

Alexandra Widman

Naturalist

Alexandra grew up on the southeast coast of the United States. She has a deep love for the ocean that stems from her childhood spent surfing, kayaking, diving and fishing on the Intracoastal Waterway. Alexandra has lived on San Cristóbal Island for the past 6 years, having fallen in love with Galápagos the moment she arrived as a fledgling marine ecologist. She holds a bachelor’s degree in marine biology and a master’s in environmental science and management from the University of California Santa Barbara.

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