Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Galapagos, Day 3: James Bay and Bartholomew Island

The morning of day three, we found ourselves hiking around the lava flows at James Bay.

Here, more than anywhere else, we could get a feel for what it's like when an island is created. Though the lava was more than 100 years old, it looked like it had just been flowing. The only plant we saw was the lava cactus.

The first to appear after a volcano has erupted, this cactus helps to break down the hardened lava and turn it into dirt or sand.

Many of the words used to describe lava formations come from the Hawaiian language. I believe this formation is called "pahoihoi," which means rope.

Sometimes air would get caught in the lava, and then burst in a big, hot bubble. As the lava cooled, it would leave a hole like this.

It reminds me of the drip sand castles we would make as kids.

Isaac and I took a break to pose on some pahoihoi.

It was incredibly hot walking on the lava. The radiant heat from the black ground can even be dangerous if you're not properly prepared. Thankfully, we were slathered with sunscreen, and our guide reminded us each morning to bring a hat.

As we continued our hike, we arrived at the foot of a parasitic cone. These cones are made of ash that has been compressed and solidified into a brown dirt-like substance. Pushed up by great blasts of steam, the compressed ash forms a kind of mountain. 

We made the slippery, hot trek up one of these cones. The breeze at the top was well worth it. Mr. and Mrs. W. even doffed their sun hats and stole a romantic moment together.

After lunch, we boated over to Bartholomew Island, or Isla Bartolome. Many of the islands have two or three names, including one in Spanish and in English. 

Disembarking, we walked a steep trail to see one of the most famous views in the archipelago.

This view is so well-known, it was even immortalized in a mural behind the bar on our boat.

While enjoying the breeze at the top, we had some fun with the pointy rock.

We concluded the day by snorkeling around Bartholomew. It was absolutely freezing, a big shock to the system after such a hot day. The water temperatures varied vastly in the islands, a result of many different currents which come together here.

We saw more penguins. Fortunately, these guys had all of their wings intact.

And finally, we returned to the boat for the night. To round out the day, I'll leave you with one of the stunning rock formations of Bartholomew.

Come back tomorrow for pictures of Santa Fe Island and Bachas Beach on Santa Cruz.

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