After our usual hardy breakfast we went to Sullivan Bay on the east coast of Santiago Island. We landed on a white sandy beach and began our walk over lava that flowed less than 100 years ago. It was amazing! This stuff looks like it solidified yesterday.
The older English widows were having fun interpreting the lava formations finding rabbits, birds, boats, faces, feet.... When we were back on the beach we saw our first sea turtle swimming in the ocean.
In the afternoon we visited Bartolome Island, the most photographed and viewed island.
We landed on the beach near the base of Pinnacle Rock - a well known Galapagos landmark. Some of us went snorkeling while others lounged on the beach watching the sea lions. Since white-tipped reef sharks are known to frequent the area, I didn't go snorkeling. I hung out with Ian's dad, Graham instead. We get along remarkedly well. He's a sixty something year old dentist with five kids (Ian's the youngest). We share an interest in photography.
We saw our first penguins along the base of the pinnacle. They are much smaller than those in the Antarctic, standing only 16 to 18 inches tall and weighing 5 pounds. Severe weather from El Nino caused a shortage of food about 20 years ago. At that time over 70% of the Galapagos penguins died. Since then their numbers have increased but many scientist believe this species to be endangered. It is reported that there are about 800 breeding pairs left in the world.
Just before sunset we climbed the 600 meter trail to the summit of the island. We viewed a lunar-like volcanic landscape of lava flows and spatter cones. The volcanic landscape seems barren except for the lava lizards scurrying about. Many people describe the landscape like walking on the moon.