Overall, the navigation was smooth from Puerto Ayora, southeastern Santa Cruz Island to Bartholomew Island on the eastern side of Santiago Island. Just after daybreak, we were off the ship. Two groups took Zodiacs to the landing and trekked to the top for one of the most splendid and iconic landscape views in the archipelago. It was a vigorous climb and probably felt good to most after a couple days (at least) of flights and hotels. Others took Zodiac rides along the shore in search of Galapagos penguins. A small population lives here, and only here. About 1,200 individuals at most, and success! We all got a good look as the penguins swam in a group of four to six individuals near shore!
On Bartholomew’s golden beach, we had a snorkel gear shakedown after breakfast. Folks got out into the water and saw a number of marine creatures. Stingrays, cornet reef fish, salemas, damselfish...the list is already growing. Don’t forget the chocolate chip sea star!
Cerro Dragon took the hikers back inland and around a low hill made of fine ash. Here, the Galapagos land iguanas have established their colony, and several were seen along the trail. Marine iguanas completed the picture by coming up onto the beach as the afternoon drew to a close. They were getting ready for twelve hours of darkness and cold by warming up as much as they could in the setting sun.