Santiago Island and Bartolome Island, Day 13

Male sea lion posing, Santiago Island, Galápagos Islands, Ecuador

Amazing wildlife encounters await on Santiago Island…

Another busy day in the Galapagos Islands begins at Port Egas on Santiago Island.  We take our snorkeling gear with us and leave it on the beach as we explore.  Almost immediately we are greeted by a baby sea lion (3-5 days old Juan estimates) frolicking in a secluded rock pool accompanied by its mother and would be suitor who aggressively chases away other approaching sea lions.  Watching this natural spectacle is a truly delightful experience.  The lava here is being eroded to create tide pools that are perfect homes to all manner of critters including schools of baby mullet, sally lightfoot crabs, velvet crabs, the ubiquitous marine iguanas, and many shore birds.  Fast fact: a group of iguanas is known as a lounge (not a lot of people know that!).  Get a good view of a flightless cormorant with its useless stubby wings and the main objective for the hike, fur seals.  They are, actually, sea lions, but have longer ears and longer snouts than their namesakes.

Snorkeling this morning is undoubtedly the best of the whole trip.  Spot a large school of fish, 4 sea turtles, 3 large and very playful sea lions that swam all around us, and even a white-tip reef shark.  Snacks, lunch, siesta and another boat ride later we arrive at our eighth different island: Bartolome.  It’s one square kilometer of spectacular barren volcanic rock, a Martian landscape if you will, where life is just beginning to take hold.  The views are magnificent.

Blog post by Roderick Phillips, author of Weary Heart – a gut-wrenching tale of love and test tubes

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