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Bartolome and Black Turtle Cove

tropical blossom, related to banana trees
tropical blossom, related to banana trees
We awoke to sunrise over Bartolome and soon were hiking the boardwalk across its barren landscape. Vegetation is sparse, mostly the scraggly gray Tiquilia scattered thinly over brown volcanic gravel. Animal life is even sparser: a lizard here and there. The rest is a tuff and pumice rock pile punctuated by an occasional spatter cone.

Where the boardwalk ends at Bartolome's highest point we got the classic Galapagos postcard view of Pinnacle Rock and Santiago in the distance.

Helen had to sit it out, but I had some of my best snorkeling in the shadow of Pinnacle Rock later in the morning. I swam among great schools of colorful fish, often against the background of bright orange-red algae on the reefs.

In the afternoon we rode the Zodiaks through the bays and inlets of Black Turtle Cove spotting several sea turtles, rays and sharks.

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