The Otherworldly Beauty of Kicker Rock in the Galapagos Islands
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On a recent expedition to the Galapagos Islands, we were treated to a close-up view of Kicker Rock. While at first glance, it appears to be a simple hulking boulder protruding from the Pacific, in fact it is far more complex and interesting than that. Like so many things in life, it rewards those who take a patient and close look. Of course, the drama of the clouds over the open sea surely helped. Here are our best photos of the otherworldly beauty of Kicker Rock in the Galapagos Islands at sunset, as seen from our expedition cruise ship.
Where is Kicker Rock located?
Very close to San Cristobal, which is the port where almost all of the cruises to the Galapagos Islands begin their voyages, there’s a marvelous natural rock formation that will remind you of Stonehenge. Or one of the epic sculptures of Richard Serra. It seems to rise from the ocean like a dream. And despite its solidity, Kicker Rock feels ephemeral – as if it might disappear at any moment. Seeing it up close is a magical experience.
but first, some cloudscapes
We love clouds – if that makes us appear spacy or insubstantial, so be it. We could dreamily stare at cloud formations all day – especially at dawn and dusk. That’s how we came to be on deck on our expedition cruise ship, camera at the ready, on the night we circumnavigated Kicker Rock in the Galapagos.
Having uninterrupted views of the clouds and the dramatic hues of the sky and the sea are one of the very best things about taking a cruise, by the way.
enter the sleeping lion
Soon enough, we were told to direct our attention to Kicker Rock, just emerging on the horizon. The Spanish name for Kicker Rock is Leon Dormido: the Sleeping Lion. As we mentioned, at first glance, it appears to be one enormous (and not particularly interesting) rock. Although one could credibly say that it resembles a sleeping lion. You see it, right?
Soon enough, though, the plot thickens.
not just one rock
It turns out that Kicker Rock is actually two rocks. One is a rectangular behemoth, and the other is a rather graceful outcropping shaped like an obelisk.
two distinct rocks, in fact
In fact, the two rocks are not even connected. A narrow channel runs between them.
This may be why Kicker Rock is such a good place for snorkeling and scuba diving. There have been reported sightings of manta rays, hammerhead sharks and green sea turtles in the waters surrounding it.
time for the Kicker Rock Rorschach test
It was fascinating to see how the rock formation appeared so differently depending on which side you viewed it. From one angle, it reminded us of a flat shoe.
From another angle, we saw a pair of outstretched arms.
Sometimes Kicker Rock looked like a giant amusement park slide.
Other times, it looked like a sofa. Or a very large easy chair, fit for a Brobdingnagian.
Of course, from other angles all we saw was a gorgeous series of geometric shapes.
Kicker Rock is home to Blue-footed Boobies and Nazca Boobies. But as we circumnavigated Kicker Rock, we saw flocks of Frigatebirds. Their wingspan and graceful flight is similar to a seagull – but they’re much larger, and something about them is reminiscent of bats. At least at dusk, that is.
breathtaking sunset views
As the sun sets, Kicker Rock (or is it rocks?) takes on an otherworldly appearance that only adds to its mystery and magic.
the natural beauty of Kicker Rock in the Galapagos
Those are some of our best photos of Kicker Rock in the Galapagos Islands at sunset, as seen from the deck of our luxury expedition cruise ship. The Galapagos archipelago is full of mysteries and wonders . . . this was one of the best.