Dec 23, 2019 - National Geographic Islander
The week began with great weather conditions; around December, the water turns warm and the seas very calm. Many animals, such as boobies and iguanas start to mate and reproduce. Today we visited Bartolome Island, an incredible place to learn about the geology of the Galapagos. This archipelago is one of the 52 hot spots in the world; it is part of the ring of fire and one of the most active volcanic ranges in the world. Bartolome is made of pyroclastic material, ash known as tuff and basaltic lava. A parasitic volcano stands right in the middle of the island, and it has produced different volcanic formations such as cinder cones, spatter cones, and lava flows. On our walk to the island’s peak, you have a breathtaking view, and it’s one of the most spectacular settings in Galapagos.
The equatorial location of the Galapagos lends to a unique ecosystem and weather conditions, both on land and in the sea. After the hike we returned to our ship and suited up for snorkeling in the nearby beautiful beach where penguins and multicolored fish swam within the coral and rocks. Other guests explored along the deeper waters of the coast. The deep-water snorkeling was amazing too. Guests saw many types of sea stars, warm and cold-water fish, and sharks. In the afternoon, we moved to Rabida Island where an astonishing red beach is home to many sea lions. A few feet behind this beach is a brackish water lagoon where greater flamingos can be found feeding on the very nutrient-rich carotenoid shrimp. Some other lagoon birds like pintail ducks and wandering tattlers were also observed swimming in this pool. A few of our intrepid guests explored the coast of Rabida on kayaks, having close encounters with playful sea lions, sea turtles, and rays along the shore.
Many activities were offered, and some guests decided to go snorkeling one more time in the crystal turquoise waters. Every wildlife exposure may present differently, and this time, guests saw several white-tipped reef sharks and green turtles. The rocky bottom is rich in benthonic life and an abundance of miniature creatures live in the coral, rocks or sand bed.
We closed our day waiting for sunset, tasting wine on the sundeck, and celebrating our successful first full day of exploration in this magical archipelago.
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