Today we anchored next to Santiago Island near a small group of islets. These islets and the massive lava flows of the main island create an amazing volcanic landscape. We visited the channel between Chinese Hat and Santiago. The shallow waters are home to a diverse variety of life. A sea lion colony on the beach was active, and the alpha male checked on our Zodiacs while juveniles played and chased one another. Great blue herons and night herons fished with accuracy, capturing our attention on the Zodiac tour. Later, we snorkeled, kayaked, and took tours in the glass-bottom boat to fully explore this interesting area. The warm waters of the hot season are flooding the site, and colorful tropical fish are everywhere.
In the afternoon, we visited Sullivan Bay, which is located around the corner from Chinese Hat. One of the youngest lava flows in the central part of the archipelago, dating back a bit more than 100 years, is found here. We hiked along a trail that covered a fair amount of the lava field, all the way to the base of a scoria cone. The amazing landscape is full of dynamic, uneven lava shapes that contrast with the colors of the mountains, making for a very special place. Few forms of life are found on a new lava field. Lava cacti and small lava lizards represent the new life on newly-formed land. We ended the day by visiting a small colony of Galapagos penguins that posed for us while they absorbed the last warm sunshine of the day.