||A small rugged island off the
eastern shore of Santiago, Bartolome lies opposite Sulivan Bay.
The area of Sulivan Bay, a cascade of lava, punctuated at water's edge
with fine white sand, was formed by the flow from a nearby shield volcano
that erupted or the turn of this century. (The present Sulivan Bay was
not in existence when James Sulivan, from whom the bay takes its name,visited
the Galapagos as second lieutenant aboard HMS Beagle with Charles Darwin.)
Together, Bartolome and Sulivan Bay evoke a lunar landscape of cones and
craters in varying shades of deep chocolate and light brown, black, and
The guardian point of Pinnacle Rock on Bartolome, the worn away remnant of a cone composed of spewed ashy particles, is one of the best known landmarks in the archipelago.
A stretch of land on the western part of the island is notched out on both sides- by coral- sand beaches (the north shore a popular swimming and snorkeling site), around which flourish lush mangroves and other salt tolerant plant life.
Away from the water, however, Bartolome is stark and dry, and only the occasional prickly pear, lava cactus, or Scalesia bush has managed to survive among the spatter cones and love tubes (the crusted-over "tunnels," now empty, through which volumes of molten rock once raced). Climbing the island's summit trail reveals a peculiar adaptation to the environment, the Tequilia plant, which at first glance looks like dead brush but which is actually made up of leaves covered with tiny gray hairs that help prevent the evaporation of moisture caused by the desiccating winds and reflect the unremitting sunlight. A range of wild life thrives where the landscape is more forgiving: the diminutive.
Galapagos penguins are frequently seen, and a small cave behind Pinnacle Rock houses a breeding colony. Green sea turtles and. herons make use of the gentler beaches.