Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Bartolome Island: One of the icons from the Galapagos Islands


I had always wanted to visit it, and finally, a couple of years ago, my wishes were fulfilled. . As I was traveling with a group of German tourists, we had on our itinerary a day tour to this island. The boat ride was very calmed, and we were in a bigger ship than the ones used for passenger transport between the large islands. This small ship had two sun decks and dinning area, and enough place for 30 people to be relaxed and enjoying the ride.

Following a two hours boat ride, and a short visit to Daphne Islet, to look at the Nazca Boobies that nest on the slopes of this tuff cone, we arrived to this also small island separated by a couple hundred meters from Santiago Island.

Facing us, we admired a spectacular landscape, crowned by the view of the famous Pinnacle Roc; this natural formation that resembles the "menirs" that Obelix, a character of the cartoon series by Goscinny and Uderezo, carries on his back to throw at the Roman soldiers. After our dry landing, and using our good eyes to avoid steping on the sea lion sun bathing in the pier steps, we walked and walked upwards towards the top of the island.

There are a couple view points where the local guides pause and take time to explain you about the nature, formation, fauna, flora, and everything you want to know about Galapagos, or just to let you take hundreds of photographs of all what you see, as mementos of what you saw in this beautiful place.

As we reached the top we had a full view of this iconic picture (first of this post), that appears in almost all travel books about Ecuador and Galapagos. I don't know who made this place so popular, but it certainly is something that calls the archipelago t my mind.

I didn't know, until I saw a documentary about the Galapagos, that the pinnacle rock at Bartholomew was used during the Second World War by the U.S. Navy as a target, to practice aiming at enemy ships, that for our good luck never reached this shores. The bombs were not filled with explosives, but with sand, so the pinnacle rock remains intact.

At the base, I have done some incredible snorkeling. It is like going through a labyrinth of rocks with passages filled in with different water temperature and fish. There are big schools of different types of fish, rays, and sea lions. As you dive five or six meters into these clear waters, you can let your body be carried back to the surface by the oxygen packed in your lungs. This is one of my favorite experiences!

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