We woke up this morning in the central part of the archipelago in front of a very small and very famous island. Bartolomé is home to Pinnacle Rock, a tall pillar of volcanic tuff that juts out of the water, an image that has appeared in many books and documentaries. We call it “our open book of geology.” We began our exploration by climbing 372 wooden steps to reach 315 feet in altitude.

From that vantage point, one of our guests, Jeffrey, spotted a spout in the distance. Immediately we called for the Zodiacs so we could go whale-watching. When we arrived, we were lucky to see three killer whales, a large female and two calves. Frigatebirds and many more seabirds were on the premises indicating that the orcas were feeding. Unexpectedly we spotted a Pacific green sea turtle at the surface, but it was soon grabbed by an orca and taken under the water to be eaten. This was a true an expedition, full of excitement and wonder. And that was all before breakfast!

Later in the afternoon, it was time for water activities. Some of us went snorkeling, others boarded our glass-bottom boat, and some relaxed on the sand with a beach towel. Back on board, we enjoyed a presentation on Charles Darwin and the Galapagos by our naturalist Fernando. As the ship repositioned, we passed next to a chain of volcanoes. Inside one was an inner caldera where we could see some flamingos from afar. At Sombrero Chino, we had chance to snorkel in an impressive underwater landscape where black lava meets the white sand. With great visibility, we saw sharks, rays, penguins, and of course, a great many fish. After a Zodiac ride along the shorelines of James Island searching for Galapagos penguins, we headed back for a barbeque dinner onboard our home on the East Pacific Ocean.