My journal for the day finishes with “every day is amazing.” This is true, but this day ended up with four of the 18 entries on my highlights blog: swimming with a marine iguana, sunset from atop Bartolomé Island, lava flows and ash layers of Santiago Island, and The Bishop - a natural statue on Santiago Island.
I promise not to repeat everything on that blog post, but will offer a few more photos and highlights here.
James Island aka Santiago
I could not get enough of the volcanic landscape of this beautiful island. I love how the textures flow and change, and how life of birds and sea creatures is so abundant amid the former destruction.
These photos demonstrate the miracle of camoflauge. You may need to enlarge some of them to get a good look.
Santiago/James Island was the first place we saw the Galapagos Fur Seal. It is not technically a fur seal, says Camilo, but a fur sea lion. It has a much thicker coat than regular Galapagos sea lions, more like its relatives in the artic, so it prefers deeper water and cool shade. Its face is rounder, like a bear, thus it has the scientific name arcto bear cepahlus head.
All that, and it was still morning!
We started the afternoon with another awesome snorkel. This time at Pinnacle Rock, the most photographed spot in the Galapagos. Here you can see it from the front. Down below is the spectacular view from atop the volcano. We snorkeled just off this beach where the water was warmer than in any of the other locations, a welcome change. This famous rock is where I saw the marine iguana swim right by me.
Of course, the water was still chilly enough that I welcomed the hot chocolate that awaited us upon our return to The Beagle. A quick shower and change of clothes and I was ready to hike up the volcano. Actually, it was more of a walk/climb since there was a wooden walkway with stairs up the peak. Camilo says people were wandering off the path and damaging the fragile volcanic landscape, so they built an artificial path to keep visitors from straying. It also makes it easier to climb up the gravely incline.
Although the view of Pinnacle Rock below is the most famous (shown here with some of my shipmates), the view of the craters off the other side is also spectacular.
As you can see in the photo, there were three solo travelers on The Beagle — all women. In my travels I always meet solo women travelers, but rarely ever men, especially men over 30. Yet another reason God created Eve. It appears though, that Eve can get along just fine on her own. Not sure how that bodes for the propagation of the species (in the Galapagos these types of things are a constant source of discussion), but it seem to be the way it is.