Another very photogenic spot for our last full day in Galapagos, on the island where Darwin spent half of the time he spent on land in these islands.
|Puerto Egas on Santiago|
For a detailed account of Darwin's experiences here, read the book by Thalia Grant and Greg Estes, Darwin in Galapagos: Footsteps to a New World (Princeton University Press 2009). Grant and Estes have been called the world experts on Darwin in Galapagos. We couldn't believe our good fortune in having Greg as our guide on this trip!
After a wet landing on sand we walked on volcanic ash and pahoehoe lava, observing the wildlife in the intertidal area, part of which Greg called a "Fur Seal grotto."
|Galapagos Fur Seal|
|Galapagos Fur Seal|
|Galapagos Fur Seal with pup|
Again we saw many Marine Iguanas and Sally Lightfoot Crabs on the lava rocks.
|Marine Iguana on Santiago|
|American Oystercatcher with chick|
|Galapagos Sea Lion|
Our best views of Pacific Green Sea Turtles, which we saw several times on our snorkels, was today.
|Pacific Green Sea Turtle|
After our visit to Santiago Island we navigated Buccaneer Cove on our way to Bartolome Island, a small islet just of the east coast of Santiago.
|Lava cliffs at Buccaneer Cove|
The views from Bartolome are probably the best known scenes of Galapagos - and most visited by tourists - because of the proximity of this island to resorts, as well as the spectacular views from the top of the island 360 feet above sea level, accessed by a boardwalk and 380 wooden stairs.
Black Turtle Cove on Santa Cruz - Day 8
This trip was packed with activities, even on the morning before we prepared to go to the Baltra Airport for our return flight to Quito. Back off the coast of Santa Cruz, near Baltra, on the morning of Day 8 of our Galapagos cruise, we enjoyed a morning panga ride at dawn in Black Turtle Cove. With our image of Galapagos as so dry and arid - which the islands are - it was always surprising to see the lush green mangroves along some of the coasts. Here we saw Pacific Green Turtles, Great Blue Heron, and several sharks including a group of five lurking together as if they were sleeping below the surface of the water.