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Day 2 - July 27, 2014 - Bartolomé and Santiago Islands

By Desirée Cruz, Guest Lecturer

It is an interesting combination of feelings to see some guests leave and new ones arrive. You are still remembering remarks or expressions from those people you’ve shared the last few days with, but cannot stop from being caught along by the enthusiasm and expectations of those for whom this turned out to be their first full day in the Galapagos Islands.

And what a start! We woke up very early in the morning to be surrounded by an incredible landscape. Bartolomé and its Pinacle Rock represent perhaps the best known landscape from the archipelago. We began our day with a power walk to climb up a 360 feet high spatter cone to get to see the most re-known scenic view of Galapagos. A great introduction to the geology of the islands –lava and tuff-stone, lava tubes and lava flows.

After breakfast, we geared up to go snorkelling off the golden beach of Bartolomé. Here we had our first encounter with colourful shallow water and rocky reef fish like the Yellow-tailed Surgeonfish, and the Brown-striped Snapper or Salema. I led the Glass Bottom Boat excursion, an excellent option for those who still did not feel confident enough in the water, but who were eager to learn about Galapagos’ underwater world. An ocean bottom dotted with red Gulf or Panama Starfish, pastel-coloured fish like the Blue-chin Parrotfish, and large schools of Five-spotted Anthias or Creolefish.

Bartolomé lies very close to the eastern coast of Santiago or James Island, the fourth largest island of the Galapagos. In the early afternoon we cruised a short way along this coast until we reached Buccaneer Cove, which was our second visitor site of the day.

This is a historical site in the Galapagos Islands linked with the days when pirates and whalers used to sail through the archipelago. The beach at Buccaneer Cove, lying just next to a gulley, provided the best spot to careen vessels for cleaning hulls and do repairs, while collecting water and fetching tortoises. There are many stories of hidden treasures in this island.

We snorkelled in deep water, and afterwards, did a Zodiac tour along a picturesque coastline which featured high cliffs made out of tuff-stone, interesting geologic features such as bombs and dikes, and amazing rock formations such as one called The Bishop.

And so our day ended -everyone (myself too!) was very motivated about the new adventures waiting ahead of us at the western side of the Galapagos. It would be a long navigation that promised many exciting things for the following day.

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