Bartolomé Island: Volcanoes at Galapagos

Galapagos pelican, only mildly interested in the weirdly-dressed people watching him.

Another group of stops on our trip around the Galapagos Islands, which I’ve written about here and here, highlight the fantastic variety of landscapes and wildlife that are concentrated in this tiny island chain.

One morning we paddled into the protected cove of an island, where the clear water let us view schools of fish, stingrays, playful sea lions, and the plants and rock formations underwater. We passed mangroves growing in cool salt water, and watched the pelicans watch us. It was very calm, peaceful, and beautiful.

Mangroves on the shore

That excursion was at odds with a landing on one of the youngest island in the Islands, Bartolomé, where the fearsome might of volcanoes was on display. Where Nature destroys, she also creates. The last eruptions on this island left it covered with lava, in swirls and dips, cracks and planes, bubbles and spikes. On this otherworldly landscape we wandered, mostly staring at the ground and marveling at the variety of formations left by the inferno that was once here. Occasionally, we would see tiny spots of green or gold, where seeds, wind-born or dropped by passing birds, sprouted and took hold, and start the centuries-long process of turning this rock into soil. After this hike, there was time for snorkeling at the beach.

Peaceful cove, full of fish and stingray

I waded on the surf a bit, fascinated to find evidence of the first residents to the area – the tiny Galapagos Lava Iguana – and watch the color play of the vermillion crabs against the blue sea and the black rock.

On the dingy to the cove. The matching shirts are a coincidence. Really.

In the distance, Pinnacle Rock. I have it on good authority that this landmark features prominently in the 2003 movie Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, which I’ve owned for six years and haven’t watched yet.


Surf on Bartolome Island

Life has not yet returned. At least not the life we can easily see.

This boat won’t be able to defeat Napoleon’s navy. Then again, it’s the French navy. At Pinnacle Rock.

I was fascinated by the color of these crabs

A bit sunburned, a lot windblown. Tired but happy.

We win the vacation!

Categories: cruising, geology, Travel

Tags: , , , , ,

7 replies

  1. Great post. This is a destination that is definitely on our to-go list. BTW, I rarely watch a movie twice, but Master and Commander is one that I own, and have watched four or five times over the years. It is a masterpiece for it’s artistry, its realistic portrayal of shipboard life during the Napoleonic Wars, and it is an incredibly astute and fascinating character study. I hope you enjoy watching it as much as I did/do/will again.

  2. Evelyn will love reading this… Volcano!

  3. What a great trip you had, awesome place, beautiful pictures.

  4. A dear friend of ours is from the Galapagos Islands, it’s a remarkable and magical place! If you haven’t already done so, you can enter our exclusive giveaway to win some amazing arm candy here : Good luck! xo


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