Tuesday, March 15, 2005 - Bartolome Island: Pinnacle Rock / The Summit
Isla Sombrero Chino
After lunch I laid down for about an hour. I was beat. But then I couldn't stand it and had to go outside and see what I was missing. I wasn't going to waste my vacation relaxing! We were passing Sombrero Chino (Chinese Hat Island) and had Santiago to our left. We passed a number of smaller islets, all very stark, volcanic, and dramatic, but didn't see much life aside from sea birds.
Panga at Pinnacle Rock
At 3:00 we had our last chance to snorkel, this time around Pinnacle Rock, one of the most striking landmarks in the archipelago. I almost didn't go just because I was tired of getting in and out of the ocean and shower ad nauseam, but I decided at the last second that I must. Tom went too. So glad we went! I finally got to swim with a penguin!! I saw the little guy on a rock and just hung out near him until he was ready to dive. I didn't even attempt a pic. Penguins are awkward on land, but in the water they swim up to 40 knots. All I saw was a blur. Brilliant! There was also an enormous spotted sea snake, sea lions, and tons of sea stars.
Swimming with the fishes, see
Just a 20-minute window to clean up after snorkeling before our visit to tiny Bartolome Island's summit. A wooden boardwalk and staircase has been built here to prevent erosion. Bartolome is located just 200 yards from Santiago and is only 1.2 square kilometers.
Funky lava cactus
Bartolome is a young volcanic island, and only two land animals have colonized here so far, the snake and the lava lizard. We were looking, but we didn't see any snakes. We did see, however, some neat-looking lava cacti, lava flows, and spatter cones. At the summit of the island we got the money shot. The color and the composition is stunning.
The money shot - Isla Bartolome
Pinnacle Rock, Bartolome
I'd put on my last clean clothes when we returned from snorkeling, and on the panga ride back to the Cachalote a wave splashed up and soaked me good. So much for cleanliness!
At dinner the whole crew came down, except for Jorge - somebody had to drive - and the passengers were presented with certificates for crossing the equator, signed by the captain, and we all toasted the crew and each other. Juan sang some songs, and we had our last dinner as a group.
The fearless crew
Tomorrow we leave our beloved Galapagos. All good things must come to an end. In our opinion, a week is enough, but any less would be deficient. We had a great itinerary. I don't understand people who go to the time, trouble, and expense of traveling all this way and only take a three-day cruise. After dinner came the unpleasant business of packing, settling the week-long bar bill, filling out comment cards, and handing out tips. A lot of the passengers exchanged email addresses. We have an extra-early start tomorrow, 6:00 a.m., so we can have a little last fun before it's all over.