Blogs from Santiago Island, Galápagos, Ecuador, South America


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

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

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

Today we took a day boat trip to Bartolome and Santiago Islands, which are a two hour boat ride northwest of Baltra Island. There are several islands that are accessible by day trip, each unique in their own right by terrain and which species of bird or animal you wish to see. I decided on Bartolome Island because it is home to a very small and elusive colony of penguin, which originated in Antarctica, but long ago rode the Humboldt current to the islands, and they are the closest penguins you can see without traveling to the South Pole. Our boat was a 40ft. beautiful fishing yacht that we shared with our National Park guide Felipe, 4 college age Argentinians Dennis befriended, a Swiss guy, and 3 locals. We were given a delicious breakfast on the ... read more
View from the summit
Look a Penguin!
posing penguino

South America » Ecuador » Galápagos » Santiago Island May 16th 2012

We arrived at our anchor point some time over night. The ride seemed fine and when I woke up the seas were so calm I couldn't tell we were even on a boat. Sarah had been up for about an hour, watching the sunrise. Her report on wildlife: a sea lion burped. I went up to the top deck to watch for a little too before breakfast and only saw two penguins in the water. Otherwise things were calm. Today is our last full day. I can't believe it is already here. I wish we has more time, but at the same time I am completely satisfied with our trip regardless of what the day brings. It just doesn't get much better than this. This morning we are visiting Puerto Egas on the west side of ... read more
Puerto Egas
Fur sea lions
Scary Lobster!

South America » Ecuador » Galápagos » Santiago Island May 13th 2012

At last a solid nights sleep! Sarah and I both got a good, much needed 9 hours. The boat had already moved to Sombrero Chino (Chinese Hat) before dinner yesterday so we were anchored and seas were quiet. At 8 we hopped in the dinghys and got a little boat tour of the south side of the channel on the north side of Santiago where the new lava flow enters the water. From the boat we saw a number of marine iguanas, blue footed boobies, penguins and the Lava Herron (an endemic species). The water was really blue and clear. Then the dinghy took us across the channel to our wet landing on Chinese Hat. There were 4 or 5 young sea lions resting on the beach. We learned that they are fed by their mothers ... read more
Blue Footed Boobies

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