Galapagos Islands – Part 3 – Bartolome, Sombrero Chino, North Seymour and Mosquera Islands

We spend the afternoon of our 3rd day on the boat snorkeling in the waters off Bartolome. The day started with a hike on the lava flow around San Cristobal just across a narrow channel.  The zodiac picks us up for a lunch on the boat before running us to the other side of the channel off the rocky edge of Bartolome. This is a “deep water snorkel” and we will swim or drift more than a kilometer in the water to the other side of the island ending up on a golden sand corona-shaped beach.

As the zodiac leaves our boat we see sea turtles having a romantic moment in the channel….
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Then the zodiac approaches the drop point we get our gear on and then see penguins perched on the small rocks off shore. Some jump in to hide from us and to find fish for their lunch.  Later we get to swim with some, such a surreal experience.  We see chocolate chip cookie starfish, my new favorite that look exactly like what you imagine they would.  Unfortunately, I don’t have an underwater camera so I don’t have many pictures to share from that part of our day. About 3/4 way through the snorkel we round the Pinnacle Rock and actually swim between it and the main part of the island and I spy a sea lion snoozing on a lower part of the rock in the sun. Pinnacle Rock is very recognizable place in the Galapagos, and it’s stunning to see it in person.
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The water is incredible, filled with hundreds of fish, rays, sharks, starfish, and so much life…

After a break and time to dry off and change back on the boat we head for a dock at the base of a set of stairs that lead to the highest point of Bartolome for a view of this incredible place. A sea lion greets us at the stairs…
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That evening we keep moving around Santiago toward Sombrero Chino (Chinese Hat) and anchor for the night. In the morning we motor along the shore and find a nook where a sea lion is just returning from a morning swim.
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We see all kinds of birds and sea life.
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Sombrero Chino is across this narrow channel, and I can see where it gets its name.
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After our last snorkel of the trip during which I saw another white tip shark and a blue starfish, we move back to Santa Cruz to take an afternoon tour of the Mangroves.

The inlets are filled with life…we see dozens of turtles, Blue-footed Boobies, Spotted Eagle Rays, Brown Pelicans, and so much more.
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And sadly our last day is here before I know it. On the last morning we all board the boat at 6am to putter along the shore of North Seymour Island. We can see Mosquera from this channel and I can see sea lions on the top of the sand dunes while the sun rises behind them.
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We see Frigate birds nesting and flying overhead.
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The crew of the King of the Seas and our guides Enrique and Graciella were wonderful. Most of all the other passengers of this Dirty Dozen were all the best group of people. We had so much fun sharing stories and laughs and learning languages, Hebrew, German, English and Spanish….thank you Dikla and Tamara, Lena and Jan, Sina, Laura, Charlotte, Henrik, Hani and Arnon for making this an incredible trip….wishing you all safe and happy travels wherever you go.

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