Discover Galapagos - A travel guide to Galapagos cruises, tours, boats and yacht charters

Galapagos Islands tours - fun for the whole family!



A travel guide to Galapagos tours, boats, cruises & yacht charters

Map of Bartolome Island, Galapagos "After swimming in circles with and around a female sea lion at the base of pinnacle rock, Bartolome Island, watching parrot fish, hog streamers, wrasse, blue-eyed damsels, green sea urchin, pencil sea urchin and those surgeon fish in a huge school eating coral off the rocks, out of the murky water below comes a giant fish. A shark! and another. We stop dead in our tracks floating, eyes open watching them eyeing us swimming away through a school of careless fish. While from behind us come two more 5 feet long! White-tips cruising along the base of pinnacle rock. We continue swimming in and out of the rocks covered with sea urchins, coral and coralline eating fishes. Floating above an electrically glowing parrot fish who occasionally turns an orange eye up to have a fish eye view of myself staring back down fascinated. The sharks gone, out of sight, but still there eerily swimming through my mind." - My journal

After a wonderful afternoon siesta 
we are ready for some more beaching, swimming and snorkeling along the base of Pinnacle Rock - a well known Galapagos landmark. The snorkeling here is quite good! 

For those who would rather not snorkel, this is an excellent beach area with some rocky tidal pools to explore.

 

Pinnacle Rock, Bartolome at sunset
© Jeff Waugh
Pinnacle Rock, Bartolome Island

White-tipped Reef Sharks are fairly innocuous and usually won't bother you unless you bother them. After awhile of snorkeling in Galapagos and seeing a variety of sharks you learn that, at least in Galapagos, they are not the killers they have been made out to be. Although every time I see one it is an exhilarating experience!

Galapagos Penguin at Bartolome, Galapagos
© Jeff Waugh
Galapagos Penguins 

This is one of my favorite spots for snorkeling. 
You will probably see the Galapagos Penguin somewhere in the shade along the base of the pinnacle or flying by you in the water. Penguins use their wings as flippers and really look like they fly through the water. Yes, there are penguins on the Equator. This penguin is endemic to Galapagos and the most northerly penguin in the world. In Galapagos it is found primarily in areas of cold water upwellings where the birds may also find good shelter from the intense equatorial sun. The total population consists of only a few thousand birds.

A dinghy excursion around the base of Pinnacle Rock is a great way to see more wildlife. Besides penguins, I have observed Sally Light-Foot Crabs, Lava Herons, Marine Iguanas and California Sea Lions.

Sally Light-Foot Crab at Pinnacle Rock, Bartolomew Island, Galapagos
© Jeff Waugh
Sally Lightfoot Crab

Later in the afternoon we board our panga for a short ride to the landing site for the climb to the top of the island. I once observed an Orca slowly hunting along the shore at this very same spot! It is not common to see Orcas in Galapagos. From here we begin a short climb (45 minutes to 1 hour) to the top of Bartolome. 

Lunar landscape on Bartolomew Island, Galapagos
© Jeff Waugh
Lunar landscape

As we climb the trail, wooden steps and boardwalk (to protect the fragile volcanic tufa and native Tiquilia from human induced erosion) we view a lunar-like volcanic landscape of lava flows and spatter cones. If we look carefully along the trail we see small lava lizards (who blend with the colour of the rock and sand) basking in the sun or scurrying about. 

Near a couple of spatter cones on the way up we spot some cactus. Brachycereus is found only in Galapagos.

Brachycereus cactus on Bartolome Island, Galapagos
© Jeff Waugh
Brachycereus cactus

 

James Island from Bartlome, Galapagos
© Jeff Waugh James Island and Sullivan Bay lava flow from Bartolomew

Once at the top, the view is absolutely fantastic. We even find an endemic Scalesia tree on the north face, somewhat protected behind the spatter cone from the intense sun. How it survives here is a mystery to me. They usually grow only where there is some moisture from mist or rain.

This is certainly one of the most picturesque sights of your Galapagos family vacation! We are able to sit and enjoy the setting sun casting an orange light over these enchanted islands before returning to our boat for a good meal and a wonderful sleep. After some of the most exciting events of your Galapagos holidays, many travelers enjoy a very sound sleep at Isla Bartome. Early in the morning our Galapagos island tours will continue and we will begin our trip north... To Tower

 

 

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