Today we woke up for an early pre-breakfast walk uphill to the top of Bartolome, a satellite islet of Santiago Island. This relatively new island is a good place to appreciate different geological formations such as tuff, spatter cones and basaltic flows. It was a pleasure for me to share my knowledge of geological formation of these islands with our local people. The presence of pioneer plants such as Tiquilia nesiotica and lava cactus makes Bartolome a good place to understand how life started in Galapagos after the first plants stablished on newly formed islands. We also had the chance to explore the underwater world of this place. Having fishermen from the community was an amazing experience as they started finding and pointing species of commercial interest, such as spiny lobsters and sea cucumbers. In the afternoon, we explored the island of Rabida, where one of the highlights were the flamingoes that we found in a lagoon, and sea lions resting at the beach during a beautiful sunset. We ended our day sharing “canelazos,” one of the main traditional drinks of Ecuador.
National Geographic Endeavour II
For this first full day, we started with a walk over North Seymour Island, located on the north side of Baltra Island (officially known as South Seymour). This uplifted island is also known as Bird Island. It is home to a nice community of marine birds, such as blue-footed boobies, two species of frigatebirds, and swallow-tailed gulls (the only nocturnal gull). For our afternoon activities, we snorkeled by a red colored beach on Rábida island. We concluded the day with a stroll over an iron-oxide beach. Along the trail, we explored a saltwater lagoon with sixteen American flamingos. We even saw some nests!