Tuesday, March 15
This morning we were up early and in the pangas at 6 am, without even stopping for breakfast. We landed at Puerto Egas on Santiago Island, which used to be a small settlement trying to harvest salt. The business didn’t do well so it was shut down, and the buildings were left to slowly decay. We had a wet landing, then a two-hour walk to see the other type of sea lion in the Galápagos, the fur seal. There were only a couple of those, but along the walk we saw Darwin’s finches, mockingbirds, a young Galapagos Hawk, and quite a few Galapagos Flycatchers. The flycatchers seemed to be most intrigued by camera lenses, so they would fly up and sit at the end of the lens. This happened quite a few times and many people had that experience.
Sunrise, with lava
Once out on the lava we had to watch our footing so that we didn’t step on any iguanas. This area also had tide pools and blow-holes for the waves to spray through, so it was a very interesting walk. We did see the Galapagos fur seals, including a few cute pups. Our walk ended at 8 am just as the other ships were delivering their passengers, so once again we had the best part of the day and the walk completely to ourselves.
Back on board we had breakfast and then got ready for our next excursion, which was snorkelling at the same beach. We used the panga as the jumping-off point and one of the first things we saw was a white-tipped reef shark. This area was interesting to snorkel in as the lava came out from the shore in long fingers. We could view both the shallow lava, with many reef fish, and the sandy bottom which was much deeper. We snorkelled for about an hour, during which we saw many of the same species we had seen before and also new ones like mackerel and barracuda.
Sea lion pup
During lunch, and until at 2:30 pm, we motored to Isla Bartolomé. During this, the chef came out of his tiny galley and demonstrated how to make ceviche. We may even try it when we get home. At Isla Bartolomé we did two excursions, the first being an afternoon snorkel trip. We jumped off the panga and the first creature we saw was a white-tipped reef shark down in the deep. On this trip we were closer to lava outcrops, but more importantly we saw quite a variety of starfish, including chocolate chip stars and Panamic cushion stars. There were also many colourful fish, including tiny reef fish which hid in holes in the lava, but unfortunately no penguins.
Chef preparing ceviche
We snorkelled here
After this we had to quickly shower and change before our next outing, which was a walk along the boardwalk and up about 380 steps to the top of Isla Bartolomé. The view from the top was fantastic. We could see many islands and also fantastic volcanic features and we looked down on a submerged crater which you couldn’t see from sea level. We took photos of us with Barb and with Matthew and the guides took photos of the whole group. Back on the Mary Anne we had an afternoon snack, then at 7 pm we had a cocktail with the captain and crew to say our thank yous and farewells.
Classic Isla Bartolomé view
The three of us
Dinner was at 7:30 pm but unfortunately it was lobster tail, which neither of us ate. The rest was good though. Once we were all done we paid our bar bills and then retired to our cabins to pack for tomorrow.
Almost goodbye to the Galápagos