01.02.2015 - 08.02.2015 28 °C
As we mentioned earlier each day we had a number of choices in terms of the guided activities that we could undertake. It is hard to say what our favourite activity was but hiking around the various islands was up there with snorkeling. In this blog entry we'll share some of the photos that we took during our numerous hikes on the islands. Fortunately the sky was partially overcast a good part of the time since the sun is extremely powerful here on the equator line. Every day we would load up on sun screen just before heading out on our morning and our afternoon adventures. During mid day we were back on board the boat having lunch out of the sun and then getting ready for our 3:00 pm afternoon departure.
The following pictures will illustrate another aspect of this amazing adventure tour.
We are moored in Elizabeth Bay for a hike up the side of an old volcano on Isabela Island. Isabela is the largest of the Galapagos Islands with an area of 1792 Sq. miles. The highest point is Volcan Wolf with an altitude of 5600 ft. The island's seahorse shape is the result of the merging of 6 volcanoes. One side of this island is inhabited but the other side is not.
The first part of our hike today starts with 150 steps up an old wooden walkway put in place by the National Parks officials to limit the damage tourists were doing to the landscape. The first stop is the look-off at Darwin's Lake. The lake is a crater which was thought to be filled by a tidal wave resulting from the eruption of a volcano on a neighboring island. The water in the lake is salt water.
The start of a long hot trek up the side of an ancient volcano to visit Darwin's Lake
Our ship the Xpedition moored in Elizabeth Bay. Picture taken from the look-off at Darwin's Lake
Darwin's Lake, a salt water lake created eons ago by a giant tidal wave
Our group making their way up the trail to the top of the old volcano
Hazel at the top of the old volcano after a long hard climb up the side of the old volcano. You can see our ship way off in the distance anchored in Elizabeth Bay
Santiago Island has an area of 226 sq mi and a maximum altitude of 2976 ft. Marine iguanas, sea lions, fur seals, land and sea turtles, flamingos, dolphins and sharks are found here. Pigs and goats, which were introduced by humans to the islands and have caused great harm to the endemic species, have been eradicated (pigs by 2002; goats by the end of 2006). Darwin finches are abundant as are the Galápagos hawks. As on most islands there is also a colony of fur seals. Our stop today will be at Sullivan Bay to observe a recent (about 100 years ago) lava flow that came right down to the ocean.
Landing on shore at Sullivan Bay the landscape is completely barren due to the lava flow of over 100 years ago. Our afternoon hike was a very interesting walk over the lava flow to see several points of interest
Barren lava flow
More of the lava flow with Pinnacle Rock in the background
More lava flow
A blister in the lava flow caused by a small explosion during the cooling process
Interesting features created as the lava thickened and flow reduced as the lava cooled. This particular form is known as rope lava and is also common in Hawaii
Vegetation is starting to pop up after only 100 years of cooling
Checking out a large void created during the cooling process
Remnants of a little side stream of lava that flowed down a small valley
Landscape showing how the lava sought out an old stream bed as it flowed towards the ocean
Returning to our ship after an afternoon of exploring
Late afternoon shot taken from the Xpedition as we departed for our next destination - anybody for a drink in the lounge as we watch the sun set
Bachas Beach on Santa Cruz Island. You can see the remnants of an old supply barge that broke away from its moorings on the island of Baltra during a storm many years ago. Depending on the currents this wreck can be visible like this or often it is completely covered in sand. The National Parks service determined a number of years ago to leave the wreck here as it would be more disruptive to the environment to remove it than to leave it as is
This afternoon we have opted for an exploratory adventure in the Zodiac to explore Cerro Brujo which is along the coast of San Cristobal. Cerro Brujo is a tuff cone that was named for its shape which is said to resemble a witch’s hat. The next few pictures were all taken along the very rugged coast of this area.
You can see that there is a fairly rough seas rolling into this area. The drivers had to work hard to keep from soaking everyone
[i]Working our way through calmer waters
Our Zodiac can get into some amazing spaces in between the rocks
Looking through a hole in the shoreline out to Kicker Rock. Kicker Rock is a 485 ft. tuff cone that was formed when boiling lave encountered the cold ocean and exploded. It has since been eroded into 2 parts. It is a nesting site for many birds and got its name from resemblance to the shape of a boot. The Xpedition does a full circle around the rock and the timing today is perfect for some good late afternoon photos
Late afternoon return to the Xpedition. We will get underway fairly quickly so that we can circle Kicker Rock in the good light.
Kicker Rock at sunset
Our group on deck having a late afternoon cocktail with Kicker Rock in background
Another angle of Kicker Rock, it was a stunning sight
Hazel with Kicker Rock in the background
A sister rock to Kicker located only a few kilometers away
Kicker Rock quickly fades into the sunset as we set sail for our next destination
Bartolome Island consists of an extinct volcano and numerous volcanic features such as tuff cones and spatter cones. It is quite barren. Its best known feature is Pinnacle Rock – a tuff cone seemingly rising out of the water. It was formed by magma expelled from an underwater volcano. Once cooled by the sea the hot lava exploded with bits and pieces of rock bonding to form Pinnacle Rock.
Pinnacle Rock taken from the top of a nearby peak after a long and hard climb up the side of a neighbouring hill
An easier shot of Pinnacle Rock taken from the Zodiac. Probably the best snorkeling of the trip was around the base of Pinnacle Rock
The Zodiac brings us back to the Xpedition for our last dinner before the end of this portion of the trip
The sun sets on an amazing week of exploring the fabulous Galapagos Islands and learning about the exploits of the truly amazing Charles Darwin whose thinking was so far outside the box it is not hard to understand why his detractors ridiculed his theories
This ends the Galapagos portion of this adventure. Tomorrow we disembark the Xpedition and head off to Peru where we will begin the next stage of the tour - stay tuned.