Galapagos, Bartolome

"On Bartolome, it seems like we are walking on the moon. This young Island is inhospitable to most plants and animals. After a dry landing, climb 30 minutes up a steep slope to the summit of a once active volcano. Along the way, we pause to catch our breath and marvel at lava bombs, spatter cones and cinder cones. From the top of the wooden stairs, we can gaze out across the island for a panoramic view of the island and "Pinnacle Rock", an eroded tuff cone. Down below, crystal clear water is an invitation to snorkel with schools of tropical fish. Galapagos Penguins often swim in this area. On the other side of the Island, encounter sea turtles and white-tipped sharks." - Itinerary

After swimming and snorkeling from the island (we swam around the point, and saw sea lions, and enormous ray, and a green sea turtle. We also saw penguins from the panga but weren't lucky enough to see them from in the water), we had a dry landing and climbed 360+ steps to the top of the cone in the middle of the island. From the top, we had an amazing panoramic view of the surrounding islands, which look like nothing else on earth. Aside from the blue sky, we might as well have been given a view of Mars. Of interest on the walk were views of parasitic cones and views of some of the local pioneer plants, which are hardy enough to survive in the harsh environment of newly formed land.

Also on the island were passengers from one of the large cruise ships. Members of our group couldn't help gawking at some of them, who were almost as interesting to look at as were some of the endemic wildlife! Think large -- and colorful. In any case, I am glad our ship is on a different schedule than the ones those ships are on.