Santiago Island is the second Island visited by Charles Darwin was originally named after England’s King James the second. The island was a good source of salt, water, and food for whalers and buccaneers passing. There was a salt mine inland that was used to salt fish and tortoise meat. Land iguanas used to populate the island but are now extinct. From Darwin’s own notes he wrote that land iguanas were thriving quite well since there was no place to even pitch a tent. Santiago Island today is now one of the most visited islands.
Sullivan Bay is a satellite island of Santiago. This is one of the best places to see the Galapagos fur seal. There is not much wildlife to see here, but the old lava formations are quite a site to see with tuff cones, pyroclastic cones, and other volcanic landscapes.
Bartolome Island is another satellite island that derives from Santiago Island. It is home of the famous Pinnacle Rock and is named after James Sullivan, a friend of Charles Darwin who was also aboard the HMS Beagle. Of all the islands, this is the most photographed and is also featured in the 2003 movie “Master and Commander”.
Pinnacle rock is a volcano cone formed by magma expelled by an underwater volcano. The sea cooled the hot lava and as it exploded from contact, the pieces formed together this huge rock of many, many layers of basalt. The huge rock also has a beach where a small population of green sea turtles will nest. Galapagos penguins gather here and swimming can offer beautiful sights of colorful schools of fish and curious sea lions.