Chinese Hat

Added 30 Nov 2012

Today we visit the fourth largest Galapagos Island, Santiago (also known as James and San Salvador). We wake up anchored close to Sombrero Chino - which naturally does look just like a "Chinese hat". After breakfast we join our pangas for a Zodiac ride together with our naturalists, Lynn, Fernando, Juan Carlos and Walter. We cruise along a stark lava landscape and see herons and shore birds, a Galapagos Hawk and, eventually two or three Galapagos Penguins - well spotted Oli! There's a snorkelling opportunity to follow and everyone also heads for a small but pristine beach to relax, swim or start an escorted walk along the rocky coastline. Along the walk we see a newly born sea lion.

Back on board we meet on the Sky Deck for our "cruise by" Bainbridge Islet as we sail north. This is a flooded caldera of an old volcano and at one point you can see into the crater. We see pintail ducks inside and someone spots a lone flamingo - but after using our binoculars we agree it is a pink buoy, not a flamingo. We're still trying to work out why there's a pink buoy inside an intact caldera?!

After lunch we enjoy a siesta before a dry landing on the lava flows of Sullivan Bay. This walk is an unforgettable experience, walking across a remarkable lava flow that is probably little more than 100 years old. There is smooth ropy lava and sharp broken lava and we see cinder cones, spatter cones and hornito - all creations of the flowing and cooling lava following a major volcanic eruption.

Every day in Galapagos is different - it is an amazing place!