Bartolome and North Seymour
Unfortunately, our daughter, Megan got sick in the middle of the night with some type of stomach virus and decided to stay on the ship while we went for a dry landing in the morning. Bartolome is a mostly baron volcanic island consisting of parasitic cones which last erupted hundreds of years ago. Only a few plants have established themselves, some of which serve as food for the Lava Lizard. A wooden walkway has been constructed to help protect the slopes from erosion.
We hiked to the top of the highest parasitic cone and enjoyed a panoramic view of the island as well as close-by Santiago. Below, we could see Pinnacle Rock. In "Master and Commander", Russell Crowe peers through a spyglass from this very spot. The only vegetation we could see consisted of a stretch of mangrove lining a white sandy beach just adjacent to Pinnacle Rock where we were to snorkel.
This spot isanother Eden-like location. Pelicans perched on the walls of Pinnacle Rock and periodically dove into the water after fish. Galapagos Penguins raced back and forth hunting for food as well. Snorkeling around Pinnacle Rock was spectacular. I had a chance to see two Reef Sharks measuring about four feet in length. Later, a young sea lion appeared to be playing with one of the young children on the beach.
We later boarded the ship and went to a small island to re-fuel. We then embarked for a short trip to North Seymour for a hike. The highlight of this excursion was the chance to see Frigate birds both nesting and performing their mating rituals. We also had a chance to see the Land Iguana which does not feed on algae but rather eats the abundant cactus on the island. Blue-footed Boobies were also abundant and were seen nesting on un-hatched eggs. Some were also feeding their fluffy white chicks. During mating, the male Frigate birds inflate a large red pouch near their throat to attract the female. The pouches also allow them to make loud clucking noises with their beaks.