Bartolome and Chinese Hat Islands

Jul 04, 2019 - National Geographic Endeavour II

Last night National Geographic Endeavour II anchored off the coast of Bartolome Island, so we had a quiet but exciting night as we could see from the upper deck a starry night and dozens of sharks that were around the ship.

Early this morning we had a dry landing on a dock and we started our early walk on a wooden boardwalk that was built years ago by the national park system in order to prevent erosion. We gradually went up the volcano and at different spots we could see how the landscape changed. On the volcanic ash, we saw endemic and pioneer plants that were starting to colonize the island. Nonetheless, the best sight was at the upper part of the island where we could see the lunar landscape formed by spatter cones, the young lava flow from Santiago that engulfed a few cinder cones, and of course, the best sight was from the top, the most emblematic scene of the Galapagos, Pinnacle Rock.

After a well-deserved breakfast, we went to the beach to swim and to enjoy the scenery, but a great surprise was waiting for us on a rock, a lonely Galapagos penguin.

Deep-water snorkeling was amazing, we saw a white tip shark very close to us and many different species of sea stars, as well as parrot fish and hundreds of cardinal fish.

As we sailed towards our afternoon stop, some bottlenose dolphins were jumping and surfing along the way.

In the afternoon, our first activity was the snorkeling off the coast of Santiago, in a canal between Chinese Hat and Santiago. Here we saw quite a few whitetip sharks sleeping in their caves, and a huge stingray was also resting at the bottom. However, the highlight were the Galapagos penguins that were out on their favorite rock catching the last sun rays of the day.

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About the Author

Magdalena Terneus


Magdalena Terneus has always been passionate about nature, and an animal lover ever since she can remember.   Magdalena studied Natural Science- Biology at Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania on a full scholarship, with the idea of working as a naturalist guide in the Galapagos Islands.  After graduating from Lock Haven, she went back to Ecuador and worked in the La Selva Lodge in the Ecuadorean rain forest.   After working in the rain forest, she took the Galapagos guide course, so she could work as a guide in the Galapagos Islands.

About the Photographer

Walter Perez

Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

Walter was born in a very small town on the mainland of Ecuador. His first trip to the Galápagos was when he was 12 years old, visiting friends and aunt, who had moved to the islands. From the first moment he saw the Islands, he fell in love with them and knew then where his future home would be.

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