Galapagos Diaries - Day 6 - Las Bachas and Bartolome

Posted by Lisa Pagotto

Greater Flamingo
Greater Flamingo

This morning we visited Las Bachas, Spanish for ‘barges’. Before us, a long soft, white sand beach, indented with turtles nests and the disorientated tracks of hatchlings attempting to find their way to the water to avoid prey.

Beyond the mounds of nest, is another brackish lagoon featuring a splash of pink. A small flamboyance of the Greater Flamingo strode eloquently. Eight of them dancing in the scummy water, churning up the bottom with their tapping feet, in search for shrimp.<

A white tipped reef shark
A white tipped reef shark

They edged closer and closer to us until they were only a couple of metres from the shore. So beautiful, so majestic, so pink. We sat and watched them for around 40 mins, just taking in their beauty before venturing back to the soft sands where some of the group attempted to snorkel, but the sea was chopping and visibility extremely poor.

Following lunch, we jumped in for a deep sea snorkel around the island of Bartoleme. The sea was rough, the visibility, just ok. The parrot fish seemed to be on steroids and the star fish in vast numbers as they are scattered across the ocean floor.

A giant ray flapped quietly under a nearby rock. Not sure what type it was, but it was extremely dark in colour and the size of a small car.

A white tipped reef shark zig zagged by and in its trail, a small excited penguin zooms by chasing it. We followed its bubble trails until it was out of site.

Yellow Tailed Surgeon fish
Yellow Tailed Surgeon fish

“Turtle!” someone screams from the surface, but by the time we reached them, it was long gone. Another three or four reef sharks swam by. One seemed friendly and came quite close to us. Perhaps curious. Once again, vast schools of Yellow Tailed Surgeon fish travelled together and fat colourful sea cucumbers lazed on the sandy bottom.

The odd chocolate chip star fish appeared now and then and fat puffer fish bob by awkwardly.

Bartolome Island
Bartolome Island

Following our snorkel, we disembarked the pangas on the shores of Bartolome where it seemed like we were walking on the moon. This young island is inhospitable to most plants and animals.

Bartolome Island
Bartolome Island

We climbed 380 stairs which lead us to the summit of a once active volcano.

Lava bombs
Lava bombs

Along the boardwalk as we ascended, we paused to marvel at lava bombs, spatter cones and cinder cones.

Volcanic landscape
Volcanic landscape

From the summit, the view allowed us to gaze out across the island for a sprawling panoramic vista of the island with the most photographed pinnacle rock, an eroded tuff cone.

Submarine crater
Submarine crater

The water was a stunning turquoise from the top and we could see the rim of a submarine crater.

Are we on Mars?
Are we on Mars?

The sun starts to dip and lunar landscape illuminates to eerie golden browns and sun-kissed oranges. The rock formations create shadows and the wind picks up.

We return to the ship for dinner.

Crooked Compass travelled with Ecoventura on board MY Eric.

Bartoleme Island
Bartoleme Island

Looking for more Animal Encounters or Natural Phenomena to include in your travels? Download and search the Crooked Compass Travel App for inspiration or join our next Galapagos Expedition!