Day 1 - October 19, 2013 - Santiago Island, Sullivan Bay
By Maria Elena Aviles, Naturalist
Weather: Sunny with scattered clouds
Air Temperature: 24ºC
Pressure: 961 hPa
Wind: 5 knots
We woke up to a beautiful morning by the time Silver Galapagos arrived to Baltra Island. I had a cup of coffee and some fruit, and then headed to the brand new Baltra Ecological Airport to meet our new guests. The flight arrived on time, and we left the airport immediately. As we approached the pier we were met by some young sea lions that shortly after made themselves confortable on the benches by the dock!
Our guests arrived at about eleven and were warmly welcomed on board with cool drinks before we gathered in the Theatre for the customary welcoming briefing and mandatory safety drill given by our Expedition Leader, Daniel Arteaga. We enjoyed a delicious lunch, our guests got settled into their suites, and Silver Galapagos was already on her way for the start of our Central and Western Galapagos Expedition.
We arrived to Sullivan Bay in Santiago Island in the afternoon. We disembarked on a secluded beach covered with sally light foot crabs and remains of coral left there by one of those very harsh winters provoked by the infamous El Nino phenomenon. We started walking and what we had ahead was an immense, bare, and black lava field. This new basaltic pahoehoe lava field was created by an eruption in 1889. Santiago island´s 2900 feet high shield volcano is one of 13 active volcanoes that are in the Galapagos archipelago!
The shapes and formations of the lava were remarkable and looked so fresh that they might have been formed last week. This lunar scape seemed so inhospitable, but there they were…tiny lava cactus, and a busy lava lizard trying to get some insects for dinner…everything looked so unreal…
The sunset was magical too, but we had to come back to the ship. Later in the evening the captain and officers toasted us to a great expedition, and we were delighted with our first delicious dinner and the piano accords of some romantic South American boleros.
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