Ecuador Day 10 – Santiago and Bartolome

Breakfast was again at 07:00, as a navigation was planned for 07:30 to 11:00; though as it turned out the engines started up and we started to move at around 06:20.

After breakfast we decided to kill some time by packing our suitcases ready – we were unsure how much time we’d have in the evening so it seemed like a good idea. Not everything could be easily packed though due to some stuff being needed throughout the day.

Isla Santiago: Landscape of lava and desert

Our first excursion was 30 minutes earlier than planned so didn’t get much time to prepare. The first stop was Santiago which has a massive area of lava formations. It is a mostly barren landscape with ash and volcanic rock, with the only vegetation being a lone cactus and some scorpion weed.

Afterwards we headed back to the beach to swim and snorkel around Sullivan Bay. The water was amazingly clear and it was a great place for snorkelling and free-diving. Underwater we saw many species of fish and even saw Galapagos Penguins (basically a smaller version of the Humboldt penguin) and a sea lion swimming underwater. After what must have been about 30 minutes the rubbing of my fins against my sunburned feet was too much, but not long after everyone else decided to finish too.

Galápagos Penguin (Spheniscus mendiculus)

On the panga ride back we saw a young Galapagos penguin that was moulting it’s feathers on Bartolome island. On the boat we then saw a pair of pelicans and 3 Galapagos sharks circling the boat.

Isla Santiago

For the afternoon we headed over to Bartolome. To start with most people went to the beach but as I was already sunburned I opted to stay on the boat and read. Afterwards I joined then for a walk on Bartolome that was along a boardwalk with 370 steps. The best thing about it was how close you could get to Galapagos hawks. Apparently this area had also been used when filming Master and Commander.

Galapagos Hawk (Buteo galapagoensis)

To end the day we finished packing our suitcases ready for the following days flight back to Quito. It probably didn’t help that the boat by this time had started it’s 9 hour cruise back to Puerto Ayora. This made it particularly difficult to get things packed without them rolling across the cabin. That’s just part of the fun of being on a boat though!

Isla Bartolome at dusk

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