Day 3–Santiago Island-Sullivan Bay-Bartholomew Island
–214 Photos Taken–
6:00 a.m.-We go on our first expedition of the day to Santiago island where we explore the lava flows and get some education on Galapagos Vulcanology from our guide interpreter, Victor.
The patterns in the lava are caused during the cooling process. This is a fairly new lava field, only 120 years old. Although the remainder of the island is more like 1.5 million years old. Lava tubers have been formed by surface lava cooling while lava underneath is still molten. On the older part of the island, the surface is broken up into smaller rocks and pieces. Some vegetation has stated to form. There are lava cacti in places.
We return to the boat around 7:30 and have breakfast. About 8:30 am we go to Bartholomew Island, dry landing, and walk up a long wooden ramp around and to the top of the crater, stopping along the way at various viewing platforms to take in the amazing views. At the top, the view is absolutely unbelievable. Looking out the other side of the island, I see an isthmus leading to a rounded area. The textures and colors are amazing. I want to stay here forever, or at least a few hours. Reluctantly, I follow the group as we descend back to the boat landing. At the landing, two Galapagos Sea Lions are camped on the steps so we stop and haver a photo shoot. Finally, Victor chases them off so we can board the boats.
After a snack, we go for our third outing of the day, a snorkeling trip on the other side of Santiago.
We return to the boat for a fabulous lunch (all the meals have been great and appetites are up all around). We were supposed to return to Santa Cruz so the crew could participate in the mandatory national election. However, this plan is cancelled and we get to remain here today.
So we have a siesta for an hour (deep sleep) and then we return to Santiago. We do a nature hike over the island to the other side. There, we observe more sea lions, blue footed boobies skydiving for fish, sharks, a school of golden rays swimming near the shore, several penguins (yes, Galapagos Penguins evolved for life at the Equator), American Oyster Catcher Birds (small with orange beaks), and Sally Lightfoot Crabs.
Returning to the other side, it is time to scuba again. M new mask fits well and I am a happy camper. I see literally thousands of fish. I am in the middle of clouds of fish schools. Different schools, each moving with coherent patterns zooming by and through me. I see three sea lions swim rapidly by, fishing for dinner. Several large clown fish and the blue and gold harlequin patterned fish as well. Also, schools of little neon fish. But my favorite is this small purple fish with iridescent orange circles around his eyes and matching iridescent orange tips on his little flippers. I am fascinated by him and can’t stop watching him dart in and out of rocks and corral formation. a fabulous capper to a great day
We return to the boat where I upload my 200 plus photos from today. As the sun sets, it is almost time for dinner and I am really hungry.