Chinese Hat and Sullivan Bay
  • Daily Expedition Reports
  • 29 Jul 2022

Chinese Hat and Sullivan Bay, 7/29/2022, National Geographic Islander

  • Aboard the National Geographic Islander
  • Galápagos

We came back to the center of the Galapagos archipelago to see James Island and Chinese Hat. Our goal was to find a few Galapagos penguins.

We went on a Zodiac ride along the bay in search of penguins. We found a few of them in the water and one just sunbathing on a very black basaltic rock. It is unique to see penguins right on the equator, an area with fierce sun and warm waters. It only happens here, in Galapagos. We also spotted seabirds, including pelicans and terns. Galapagos hawks suddenly appeared in the air. They are the most majestic birds in the islands, located at the top of the food chain. These incredible raptors became endemic to Galapagos and prefer a diet of marine iguanas and various small creatures, such as lizards, snakes, and seabirds. After the Zodiac expeditions, we returned to our ship and got ready for snorkeling. This experience was spectacular. Our astonished guests were so happy to see penguins swimming nearby. We also observed sharks, multicolored fish, sea urchins, sea stars of many colors and sizes, and Pacific turtles. What a journey in the water. It was a super experience.

After our captain lifted anchor to move to the next destination, we gathered on the sundeck to observe the Bainbridge Islets. We observed flamingos in a lagoon. We thought the morning was spectacular, but the frosting on the cake came a few minutes later when expedition leader Jonathan Aguas spotted a few orcas feeding on fish and marine turtles. Wow! What a moment! One of the orcas jumped just alongside the bow of our ship. While they were eating, hundreds of shearwaters and frigates showed up to enjoy the leftovers. Yummy! A few frigates even competed for food up in the air! An amazing sight!

In the afternoon, we anchored in Sullivan Bay near Bartolome Island. This is a pahoehoe lava field full of nature’s art. It is black everywhere and devoid of life. It occurred just two hundred years ago. The area looks how our planet might have looked at the beginning of its formation. So dramatic, inhospitable, and desertic. We walked for couple of hours to appreciate all the formations and rocks.

Finally, we spotted more penguins on the rocks and many sea lions. We also observed Pinnacle Rock, an iconic formation of the islands. Our day was memorable! Incredible! Another day in paradise.

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