This morning we visit Bartolome which really looks like Mars. The only sign of human existence is a set of steps leading to the highest point on the island and a small lighthouse. Keeping people on the steps prevents erosion. Though it seems like there cannot possibly life on this island, we see several species of birds, some small lizards, crabs, some colorful cactus, and a few other plants. We'd been told there was a small chance to see orca whales on this trip and as we were looking out to sea from one of the viewing areas, someone notices whales in the surf. I see three but others see 5-6. Our naturalist/guide confirms that they actually are orcas and we run back down the steps as the he radios the ship to send the pangas for us so we can get closer. Unfortunately they decide to swim out to see before we can get any closer. We go back up the long flight of steps (it IS good exercise) and are treated to a magnificent view. This is where parts of Master and Commander was filmed . A bit later Harry goes snorking and I go for another glass-bottomed boat ride. More sea lions and a couple of small penguins are relaxing on the perimeter of the island. The afternoon is spend on Rabida. Sadly there is a sea lion who has gotten a fish hook in his mouth. This puts a damper on the visit - but we are told that it may just rust away. We all want to believe it. Even the naturalists are noticably affected. Sigh. Another glass bottomed boat ride reveals a baracuda, a white-tipped shark, and the most amazing sea stars. One is called a chocolate chip cookie and looks just like one cut in a star shape! We take a long walk on the island and see a variety of creatures including pelicans birds that nest in cactuses.
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