Blogs from Santiago Island, Galápagos, Ecuador, South America

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South America » Ecuador » Galápagos » Santiago Island November 16th 2019

Buccaneer Cove was a great place to wake up. A very full day yesterday resulted in a surprisingly decent sleep, despite apparently quite stormy conditions during the night. Panga cruise alongside the cliffs to see yet more seabirds, then more snorkelling, (see a pattern emerging here?) but this time in a sea cave. Massive shoals of fish but little not previously seen. Other folk saw white tipped reef sharks and 6' Lang Ray's, but I missed them this time. We sailed further north east for several hours, to tiny Rabida Island, before mooring in a sheltered bay for the afternoon's hike on Island. There were fantastic views, among lava rock and giant cactii. Beautiful pink flamingos on a green lagoon overlooking the unique red sandy beach, with Pelicans and Blue footed Boobies diving for fish in ... read more
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Frigate Bird

South America » Ecuador » Galápagos » Santiago Island November 15th 2019

Pirates and Painters Awoke in Tagus Bay on North West coast of Isabela Island, after a decent nights rest. The bay was fairly small with high hills all round. We were very surprised, and somewhat saddened to see white painted graffiti high up on the cliff faces, mainly boat names and some dates. Some of these were dated back to 1934, long before protection and regulation applied to the islands. Apparently this bay was a popular stop of for pirates and Whalers, as it was so sheltered. Still, the graffiti, which was very high up the cliff face, was totally alien to these beautiful islands. First expedition was a hike up past Darwin Lake, a highly saline body of water occupying a crater rim, high above sea level. The salinity precluded the existence of any fish. ... read more
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South America » Ecuador » Galápagos » Santiago Island November 11th 2019

Awoke to find boat already at anchor, in a beautiful bay on the east coast of Bartolome. This area is mainly lava fields and displayed many different geological features of volcanic eruptions over different episodes of eruption. After breakfast we took the Pange again to land at some steps cut into the lava rock and ascended to the top of the lava hill, observing the many volcanic spouts and formations around us. There was little fauna here on the barren landscape, but we did see Pelican, Lizards, iguanas and Sally Lightfoot crabs (which were virtually everywhere), lighting up the rocks with their brilliant red colours. Before lunch we snorkelled along the rocky cliff side and saw many white tip reef shark, starfish, sea cucumber, and thousands of highly coloured fish. The coral here tended to be ... read more
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South America » Ecuador » Galápagos » Santiago Island December 2nd 2018

As we had gone to bed very early we both woke up early and had showers before the usual 07:00 breakfast. We were now at Puerto Egas, Santiago Island. Daisy was feeling better but not good enough to be able to jump off the zodiac for the wet-landing, so instead, the Captain offered to take her on a personal zodiac ride around the island. The walk was onto black sand and a sea lion was resting on the rocks. We walked along the coast and saw iguanas, lizards and most all lots of baby sea lions who were really cute. When we got to a cool blow hole, Rob was looking down when his sunglasses fell off, then his cap followed. We could see the cap floating around so Fabian allowed him to jump in but ... read more
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The yacht stopped for sightseeing at two spots on Santiago Island during the day - Egas Port on the west coast and Sullivan Bay in the southeast. Caroline and Max again saw black sandy beaches, uneven areas of volcanic rock, and various wildlife on land and in the water. We stayed on board the yacht to rest through the sabbath day until sundown. We relaxed and read, and chatted to any other passengers who were around. In truth we did not feel we were missing much Galapagos viewing. We had come to feel that while the islands certainly hosted some unique evolutionary creatures and plants, there was in fact little bio-diversity here. The extreme saltiness of the environment caused nature to breed species which could survive here but not very many different ones. After visiting ... read more


This morning we were anchored off the coast of Jervis Island or Rabida in Spanish. This island lies at the very heart of the archipelago’s volcanic activity. The beach is deep red surrounded by cliffs and steep slopes of volcanic cinder cones. The morning activity involved a 'wet landing' so I declined and enjoyed a wonderful hour reading and relaxing on board the yacht. Don and Caroline went out on the Zodiac for a sightseeing ride around some of the Rabida Island coast. They saw a wide variety of birds including Pelicans, Herons, and Galapagos Brown Noddy Terns. There were also Sea Lions sitting or lounging on rock ledges by the slope to the shore. They eventually arrived at a beach on Rabida and set out with the guide to see some of the local ... read more
Pelicans on Rabida rocks
Galapagos Brown Noddy Terns
Caroline ready to snorkel

South America » Ecuador » Galápagos » Santiago Island September 1st 2017

Today's activities included visits to Santiago (San Salvador, James) Island at Puerto Egas and then on to the much-anticipated visit to the Natural Habitat Adventures leased private "campsite" on Santa Cruz (Indefatigable) Island. At Puerto Egas we got our first close looks at the Galápagos fur seals. Despite the name, these are actually sea lions. Their fur is thicker than that of the Galápagos sea lions, and thus was more valuable as a pelt to sell. Extensive hunting nearly exterminated these animals in the late 1800's and early 1900's. Their numbers rebounded once hunting was halted, but declined again following the severe El Niño of 1982-1983. This species is more vulnerable to climate variations due to the longer time the mother cares for the pups. The pups are largely dependent on the mother's milk for 18 ... read more
Yellow-crowned night heron
Galápagos sea lion female with pup
Galápagos sea lion pup

South America » Ecuador » Galápagos » Santiago Island June 11th 2014

Today’s excursions were focused a bit more on the geology of the Galapagos. In the morning we awoke anchored near the large island of Santiago Island, which we had already visited on Monday. This time we were on the eastern side of the island for a landing at Sullivan bay. There was no opportunity to sleep in and it was difficult to get going for the 8am start. After breakfast we were ferried by Zodiac to a black desolate lava field. The hike took us around an older volcanic cone, reddish in color and perhaps a quarter mile in diameter. The cone was surrounded by the “new” black lava field that is approximately 100 years old. We marveled at the intricate rope-like formations in the surface of the lava that were formed as the cooling lava ... read more
Landing on Santiago
Lava Field on Santiago
Santiago Island

South America » Ecuador » Galápagos » Santiago Island June 9th 2014

We needed to be up early again, but were excited at the prospect of getting off the boat and having a bit more activity. Following breakfast we grabbed our gear, which included three cameras as well as all a full complement of snorkeling gear and wetsuits provided by the cruise. We were split into groups of 16 and took a short Zodiac ride to the island of Santiago where we dropped our snorkeling gear on the beach and then headed out for a walk. We followed a trail along the beach of black volcanic sand, led by one of the naturalists from the ship. Along the way we saw more and more of the Galapagos wildlife. Starting with Lava Lizards, we soon saw the ubiquitous Sally Lightfoot crabs that seem to cover every shoreline like a ... read more
Rainbow on Santiago
Crabby Crab
Swaggy Iguanas

South America » Ecuador » Galápagos » Santiago Island May 29th 2013

Wowza! What a day it was today. I'm currently sitting on the top deck of our boat sailing back from Santiago Island. The afternoon swells have arrived and its a little choppy so hopefully I don't make too many typing errors let alone get sea-sick!! Unfortunately its been quite overcast here today and after our little snorkling trip, Rach is huddled next to me wrapped in anything available to keep her warm! Our day started with a 5.30am wake up call. The bus collected us right on 6am and after making a few more stops at various hotels to pick up our fellow gringos, we travelled north to the boat dock that will take us out for the day. After an hour, we arrived at the boat dock, swapped wheels for waterproof jackets and took the ... read more
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