June 26, 2001 - Tuesday - Santiago Island (James)

James Island (Santiago) - West coast - Puerto Egas - fur seals; erosion of the lava formed pools, caves and inlets; marine iguanas, sally lightfoot crabs, herons, flycatchers and Galapagos hawks.

Click for enlarged photo After a long night of sailing around the northern-most point of Isabela, and crossing the equator again twice, we arrived at about 4 AM at Puerto Egas on the north-east side of Santiago (James) Island.

In the morning, we hiked to the interior - seeing clear deep pools which were created by underwater lava tubes.

Click for enlarged photo Here we saw fur seals, slightly smaller than sea lions and a curved up nose. Fur seals have a two-layered coat for insulation, thus making them very attractive for coats, hats.

Again lots and lots of crabs - bright orange.

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And even more marine iguanas lying all over each other and basking in the warm sun.

East coast - Sullivan Bay - pahoehoe lava field; (pronounced pa hoy hoy) - Hawaiian for rope like lava patterns; also aa (pronounced ah ah) - rough broken slabs of lava.

Then we snorkeled on the beach again, in very clear water. Down below, there were barnacles all over the place. Pretty warm water.

Bartolome Island (Bartolomew) - small island off the eastern shore of James Island; Pinnacle Rock - hike to the top of the extinct volcano; tuffcone lava formations; Galapagos penguins.

Click for enlarged photo Another great lunch and a quick nap while we sailed over to Bartolome (Bartolomew) Island, a volcanic island off the north-east coast of Santiago.

In the afternoon, about 3, we went by panga to the base of the volcano on Bartolome and hiked up about 320 feet to the top. A grand view of the Pinnacle Rock and the ships in the distance.

Click for enlarged photo There, at the top, was a spectacular view of the 3/4 million year old crater and all the small craters that followed a path to the sea. As desolate as Mars. Only 2 types of sporadic plant life existed on the side of the crater. One was gray, the other was green. Click for enlarged photo

After lunch and yet another of my dramamine-induced naps, we went snorkeling on the only green beach of the entire cratered island.

Here was the peak of the trip: frolicking with about 5 young penguins who darted back and forth along the beach front in about 1 foot of clear water, chasing schools of small fish. A huge pelican tried to chase along with the penguins to have at the same school, and to get the fish before they did, to no avail. They would just skirt around whoever was standing in their way. We truly enjoyed the speedy penguins and how they dashed all of our attempts to catch them on film.

Click for enlarged photo At dinner, the crew outdid themselves with a banquet so gloriously presented that everyone had to desert the table, go get the camera and photograph the table and the farewell cake. A most generous meal.

We had our final dinner with the Collin family who would be traveling through South America for a total of 6 weeks vacation together.