As we started out with an early morning pre-breakfast walk, the dry land cement jetty of Bartolomé Island and the stairs built by the National Park Service took us up the summit of the volcano where the lighthouse is placed. The lava formations as we climbed and the surrounding islands observed from here are one of the best views in the archipelago.

Exploring the underwater world of Bartholomew where the waters around Pinnacle Rock are full of interesting life and the water temperature had decreased, we found plenty of life as cooler waters has more productivity. Galápagos sea lions, Galápagos penguins, and sharks were spotted as well as a wide variety of tropical fish.  The golden beach north of Bartholomew, a beautiful place, is made out a semi-precious stone named olivine.

In the afternoon, as the National Geographic Endeavour navigated to the central part of the archipelago to anchor close to Chinese Hat, the wonderful geological features of these islands seemed like life has just begun there, struggling for establishment. A few Galápagos penguins were seen on the young lava flows on the coast of Santiago Island.  Some white-tipped reef sharks and marine iguanas under the water surprised us on our afternoon adventure.

As we got back to the ship at sunset we understood that pristine places, where life has given us the opportunity to understand its processes, are very fragile. The early stages of life observed here today have also taken place in the rest of the world, and are the very base of life in our planet.