A picture is worth a thousand words! Recognized by many as the icon of the Galapagos, the islet of Bartolome is a product of the area’s explosive volcanic history. A short climb to the top of an overlook reveals the sublime panorama shown in the picture. From this viewpoint it is possible to gain some appreciation for the profound beauty and unique ecology of the Galapagos.
Descending back down, and diving into the crystal clear waters around the Pinnacle Rock, another world is presented to us. Snorkeling through canyons of volcanic rock, a myriad of sea life envelops us. Schools of tropical fish practically brush up against us, and a baby sea lion dives in to check us out. Exploring the sea bottom, we find an enormous sea turtle sleeping, and not far away an equally healthy sting ray.
The return boat trip was no less eventful, as we encountered a group of over 20 dolphins, 3 of which decided to race alongside us, and a manta ray gliding past the boat. While I cannot say that the amount and variety of wildlife we came in contact with during the day is the norm in the Galapagos, it is very possible!
Fortunately, the excursion to Bartolome was our last day in the Galapagos because it would have been hard to beat. However, each island we visited presented something unique and fantastic, such that I would not have left anything out.
Other highlights included sharing white sand beaches and turquoise waters with basking sea lions, watching a Blue-footed Boobie feed her young. witnessing two male land iguanas fighting over a mate, having a baby sea lion hop out of the water to within 2 feet of me to check me out, and climbing to the top of the still-active Sierra Negra Volcano and Volcan Chico.
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Thanks to Dan for the title image of this blog.