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September 5 - Bartolome and Santiago

The Galapagos
The Galapagos
We made it back to the northern shore of Isla Bartolome, where the Grand Odyssey anchored near Sullivan Bay! Isla Bartolome is quite small, a volcanic peak bare of vegetation with the exception of Grey Mat Plants. The soil is a dark rusty red, made of large grains of eroded basalt and volcanic ash. A wooden boardwalk led up the mountain, taking us higher and higher. As we reached the top viewpoint, we could see 360 degrees around the island, to Isla Santiago in the misty distance, and down to the twin crescent beaches on either side of Pinnacle Rock. Pinnacle Rock juts out of the beach like a sharp tooth, towering fifty feet above the flat beach and breaking waves. Later, after hiking back to the yacht, we took the pangas to the beach below Pinnacle Rock, where no one had come ashore since the last tide. The unbroken, golden sand provided a scenic dressing area for putting on our wetsuits, masks, and snorkels. We waded into the water, making for the porous rocks surrounding the giant spike. We immediately encountered a black Marine Iguana, swimming on the surface. Watching the lizard use it's flat tale as a rudder made the feeling of being in a prehistoric time even more present. We swam around Pinnacle Rock, seeing enormous conch shells with bright red and purple snails extending their filaments in the search for food. Vibrant green sea anemones and psychedelic red and black star fish occupied every nook and cranny of the underwater passages, the colors almost too vivid to believe. A fully-grown White Tipped Reef Shark sailed past us, and just as we exchanged excited looks through our masks, a small black torpedo jettisoned between us and the rock wall. The torpedo turned out to be a tiny Galapagos Penguin! The bird moved so fast under water it was nearly a blur. With a penguin and shark sighting in the span of only a few moments, we came to realize just how incredible visiting the Galapagos Islands can be.

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