Itinerary          Departure Dates          Routes Overview

Day-to-Day A5 + B5

To the remote west & southern Galapagos

9 days / 8 nights – Thursday to Friday – every 14 days

Our new 8 nights combination enables you to experience the distinct characters of west (young and wild landscapes) and east Galapagos (ancient, more friendly scenery); outer islands belong often to the more exclusive places. This is your opportunity to combine sightings of unique species as flightless cormorants and Galapagos penguins of Isabela and Fernandina with the tropical albatrosses of Española in only 8 nights (and of course many more highlights).

After an introduction in the Charles Darwin Research Centre (Galapagos giant tortoise breeding centre) you will round the by far largest island Isabela, and pass by pristine Fernandina, which are both just recently born out of fire. On its way back Nemo I will anchor at Santiago’s James Bay (fur seal grottos and great snorkelling) and sail around the sea bird laden volcano islet of Daphne Major.
Though less frequented than popular central and south-eastern islands, the desolate west is truly exceptional. Become witness of some bizarre miracles of evolution, such as flightless cormorants, huge marine iguanas and Galapagos penguins close to the equator. Discover how pioneer species conquer barren lava fields and create habitats for new colonist species. En route you will have chances to see emblematic and endemic Galapagos land iguanas, American flamingos and exciting whale watching!

The almost extinguished volcano islands in the south-west are geologically eldest, where evolution has had enough time to create plenty endemic species. Striking coral sand beaches at azure bays are favourite places for large colonies of Galapagos sea lions. Española is the sole option for those eager to admire synchronous courtship dances of the only tropical albatross in the world. Walk at a short distance past blue-footed boobies, Nazca boobies and waved albatrosses, whilst courtshipping, mating, breeding, nurturing or learning to fly (depending the season). For many Devil’s Crown is Galapagos deep water snorkelling site number one, and one of the very highlights of their cruise. Besides that this route also offers almost daily snorkelling and plenty possibilities for optional scuba diving.

 

Important notes:
• Itinerary is subject to change in case of force majeure caused by exceptional and natural circumstances.
• Approximate departure and navigation times are just indicative and depend on the sea state and decisions of the captain.
• Although Galapagos seldom requires quests for wildlife, observation of specific species can never be guaranteed.

 


Day 1 – Thursday

After arrival at Baltra your tour will start on adjacent main island of Santa Cruz, where you will cross the surprisingly lush highlands by bus and reach its cosy harbour town Puerto Ayora. A visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station and the famous Galapagos giant tortoise breeding center is an interesting introduction to this unique archipelago.

 

Program:
AM: This morning you will fly from Quito or Guayaquil to Baltra Airport.
PM: After welcome aboard S/C Nemo I, check-in, lunch, and the safety-drill you will visit the Charles Darwin Research Station as an introduction to Galapagos and get some free time to stroll through the cosy town of Puerto Ayora.
Overnight navigation: Before dinner your naturalist guide will give the first daily briefing, and the captain and his crew will present and share a welcome toast.
Navigation: The anchor will be lifted early for this route’s longest navigation to Moreno Point on Isabela, about 12 hours in southwestern direction.

 

AM: Arrival at Baltra Airport

ACTIVIDADES (80)-webAt Baltra Airport you have to pay your Galapagos National Park entrance fee and your luggage is inspected. See Getting there for flight and arrival information.
In front of the arrival hall you will meet your naturalist guide and fellow passengers, and the airport shuttle will transfer you to the ferry across the Itabaca Channel. On Santa Cruz you continue by bus through the lush highlands to the harbour of Puerto Ayora. Our inflatable dinghies (‘zodiacs’) take you the last stretch to the yacht.

 

 

PM: Charles Darwin Research Station (Santa Cruz)

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The Charles Darwin Research Station (CDRS) and the headquarters of the Galapagos National Park Service share same location on the outskirts of Puerto Ayora. From here biological research and indispensable conservation management of this unique archipelago are directed. The complex houses a bunch of interpretation and information centers about the National Park and the Galapagos Marine Reserve around.

Most memorable from your visit will probably be the successful breeding center and the enclosures with Galapagos giant tortoises; even after the death of its world famous resident, emphatically called ‘Lonesome George’ († June 2012; the last known individual of the Pinta subspecies, who sadly failed to reproduce offspring). Most remaining adult giant tortoises in the corals are former pets and many of them are accustomed to human company.

 


Day 2 – Friday

In the next few days SC Nemo I will navigate clockwise around Isabela, by far the largest island of the archipelago. Its larger living space seems to cause that evolution is hunting for records over here (although some are disputed). Explore some of the remotest visitor’s sites in Galapagos, offshore rocks with a small colony of Galapagos penguins, and penetrate Galapagos’ highest mangle in the sheltered creeks of the estuary. Perceive how pioneer vegetation progressively converts barren lava fields into lush oases and evergreen mangle forests, and is creating new habitats for specific species.
Thanks to major upwellings out off the deep sea (Cromwell Current) the nutrient-rich west coast of Isabela is a magnet to all kinds of marine and birdlife. Bolivar Channel (between Isabela and Fernandina) can be great for whale watching.

Please note: From 2017, April 1st we will visit Urbina Bay instead of Elizabeth Bay. Magenta texts are being verified and updated as soon as possible. 

Program:
AM: After breakfast first we make an inflatable dinghy-ride along the shoreline, followed by a ‘dry landing’ (with footwear) and a guided hike that crosses the crumbling, pitch black lava fields of Moreno Point (moderate level; about 2km/1.25mi). After a snack snorkeling is planned. 
PM: At noon we will sail in 2 hours to Urbina Bay. Meanwhile you can enjoy lunch and a siesta. At the geologic interesting site of Urbina Bay you will make a second guided walk, and you can snorkel as well. Navigation: Before dinner we will continue to Espinoza Point (Fernandina, about 2:30 hrs), while actively looking for whales. You will be able to enjoy a relatively quiet floating night.

 

AM: Moreno Point (Isabela)

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Moreno Point tells the continuing story of the famous lunatic lava fields of Sullivan Bay (actually not visited by Catamaran Nemo). This once lifeless lava field becomes dotted with tidal pools and filtration lagoons since parts of the crust have broken and fallen into the undermining lava tunnels.

Pioneer life takes advantage; finally the lava cacti get company of two more species of cacti, from which the candelabras can grow up to 7m/23ft tall, and dominate the rest of the shrubby vegetation. Fringes of reed, sea grass and mangrove bushes transform the picturesque lagoons in lush oases. Your pictures get the perfect finishing touch when bright American flamingos forage in the largest lagoon as well.  The fresh promising pioneer vegetation seems on the winning hand; just until Sierra Negra volcano spits a new layering cover, and the story starts all over again.

Tidal pools form natural traps and attract scavengers and hunters, such as bright orange sally lightfoot crabs, oystercatchers and herons. During a dinghy-ride along the jagged shoreline, you can spot marine iguanas that wait patiently for their turn at lowest tide to graze weeds on the seabed, and a breeding colony of brown pelicans in the mangroves.

 

PM: Urbina Bay (Isabela)

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Urbina Bay presents you Isabela’s latest geologic curiosity. In 1954 tectonic forces lifted the former seabed several meters above sea level and formed present coastal plain. The tilted seabed ran dry at once and 6kms/3,75mi of coastline was shifted outward. Pretty far land inward you can find marine remnants, such as fish bones, shells, scales from lobsters, urchins and corals.
Far behind you will reach the original coastline and the typical palo santo-bush from the arid zone. This very wide beach provides ample nesting places for iguanas, turtles and even for Galapagos giant tortoises that descend all the way down from Alcedo volcano in the wet season. The marine and land iguanas of Urbina Bay are the largest of Galapagos.

 


Day 3 – Saturday

Without any doubt Espinoza Point belongs to the more exclusive sites of the Galapagos National Park. Fernandina harbours one of the worlds most virgin, untouched ecosystems. Today you will become eyewitness of evolution, which is happening right in front of you! Wonder again about bizarre creatures as flightless cormorant, marine iguana and Galapagos penguin.
Before leaving the remote west, Isabela will present you latest geological curiosity and the largest Galapagos land and marine iguanas. While crossing the Bolivar Channel to Urbina Bay, you will have opportunities for great whale watching again!

Please note: From 2017, April 1st we will visit Vicente Roca Point instead of Urbina Bay (which we visited yesterday). Magenta texts are being verified and updated as soon as possible. 

 

Program:
AM: After breakfast and a dry landing the guided morning walk (easy/moderate level; about 2km/1.25 mi) runs over the lava tongue of Espinoza Point. After a snack we will bring you to today’s snorkeling site.
PM: While having lunch we will continue to the marine visitor’s site Vicente Roca Point, just at the snout of Isabela’s seahorse shape.
Overnight navigation: Before dinner we will start our 8 hours navigation around the north cape of Isabela to Santiago (crossing the equator two times).

 

AM: Espinoza Point (Fernandina)

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Espinoza Point is Fernandina’s only terrestrial visitors site, and one of the few locations where you will find some bizarre outgrowths of natural selection. Figurehead is the emblematic flightless cormorant that lives exclusively in the remote west of Galapagos, and could be considered as the ‘holy grail of evolution’. The cormorant had not to fear terrestrial enemies and lets you approach very close. Next generations gradually lost their flying capabilities to become excellent divers. Together with its neighbour, the Galapagos penguin, these are two of the rarest and most vulnerable bird species in the world, with less than 2000 individuals each.

Besides the endemic wildlife, you will also love the almost unworldly views with the dominating cone of Volcán La Cumbre (= the summit) as a spectacular backdrop. The narrow headland that you walk is the end of a lava tongue that has reached the coast and solidified on contact with the cold seawater. The black rocks are not yet covered by more vegetation then lava cacti and mangroves, but are teeming with hundreds of dragon-like marine iguanas that breed and conglomerate in larger groups than in any other island.

 

PM: Vicente Roca Point (Isabela)

The impressive cliffs and coves of Vicente Roca Point are an excellent backdrop for sea kayaking or an optional thrilling dinghy ride. While the dinghy will enter a dark cave below a spectacular arch, roaring echoes of the waves will accompany you. Just around the corner the collapsed amphitheatre of Volcan Ecuador offers another impressive view. Just 3 minutes of a degree south of the equator you can encounter a family of endemic Galapagos penguins (!) and flightless cormorants along the shoreline.

These rocks face thousands of kms/miles of open ocean and stand right on the edge of the submarine Galapagos platform. The Cromwell Current, an upwelling of nutrient-rich waters from the deep sea, makes this coast a magnet to all kinds of marine and birdlife. Against the higher walls perch and nest numerous seabirds, including blue-footed boobies, storm petrels and gulls.
The calmer waters of the coves are well-protected against the ocean swell and are a fairly cold, but distinctive place for snorkelling between other species of shark, penguins, puffer fish and even sea horsesPacific sun fishes (mola mola) – with 2 metric tons the heaviest bone fish species – sometimes take a sunbath at the surface in this corner of the archipelago.

 

 

 


Day 4 – Sunday

At James Bay (Santiago) Charles Darwin spent most of his time in Galapagos, while HMS Beagle continued mapping the archipelago. Highlight of this pearl necklace of visitor’s sites are the outstanding fur seal grottos at the beautiful sculptured coastline of Puerto Egas, together with other coastal landscapes that could well be exotic film sets; not to forget Bucaneer’s Cove crystal clear snorkelling waters.

 

Program:
AM: After breakfast you will make a guided walk along the coastline (easy level) to the fur seal grottos. Back on board we will provide a snack before snorkelling.
PM: At lunchtime we will navigate 12km/7 mi/45 min north to Espumilla Beach. After a wet landing (bare feet) at the beach a guided walk leads uphill and land inward (easy level; about 2km/1.25 mi). Afterwards you can make a dinghy-ride (or alternatively sea kayaking) along the coastline.
Overnight navigation: Before dinner SC Nemo I will continue along the south coast of Santiago to Daphne Major, where we will arrive after about 4 hrs for a relatively quiet floating night sleep.

 

AM: Puerto Egas (Santiago)

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Dominated by Sugarloaf Hill (395m/1300ft) and named after a former salt mine (1960s), Puerto Egas is the southernmost visitors site along James Bay. Its masterly sculptured coastline of black basalts and polished multi-coloured ash-layers forms a photogenic scenery with collapsed lava tunnels, natural arches, caves and blowholes such as ‘Darwin’s toilet’.

In a grotto right below a spectacular rock arch at the end of the beach a colony of Galapagos fur seals occupies the shade, sheltering from the equatorial sun. Unlike more common Galapagos sea lions this smaller species of seal is no beach lover at all, due to their adorable, but insulating coats. This refuge is the very best place to see these endemic, shy and once heavily hunted marine mammals.

Especially at low tide Puerto Egas teems with extremely varied intertidal life. Notice how marine iguanas just leave, return cold or warm-up after grazing weeds on the seabed at lowest tide. Ossified night herons and lava herons keep an eye on the tidal pools that are refilled every flood again with small fish, octopuses, star fish, snails, urchins, shells, green algae and many other snacks. Noisy oystercatchers, turnstones, plovers and whimbrels inspect these pools zealously. Hundreds of sally lightfoot crabs seem even brighter orange against the pitch-black rocks (immature are dark-coloured).

 

PM: Espumilla Beach & Buccaneer Cove (Santiago)

2da entrega GGO 34-webEspumilla Beach has revived as an important breeding site for turtles, as it is no longer suffering from digging wild pigs. The turtles return year after year to burry their eggs into the cinnamon coloured sand dunes. About two months later (roughly from February to August) the eggs hatch at once. Most vulnerable hatchlings never will reach sea, and form a banquet for predators such as herons, frigatebirds, mockingbirds and ghost crabs.
The beach ridge hides a mangle with two picturesque lagoons on the backside. A colony of American flamingos and aquatic birds used to be its main attraction, but after the climate phenomenon of El Niño, strong sedimentation altered the brackish water environment, and it no longer contains their food…
As often in Galapagos, different vegetation zones are very close by, providing great scenic contrasts. During the climb of a hill you will be rewarded with a beautiful overview of the transitions from sea into beach into mangrove into dry palo santo forest.

At the nearby Buccaneer Cove we have a great snorkeling opportunity. 


Day 5 – Monday

Early morning Sailing Catamaran Nemo I will navigate around the characteristic volcanic islet of Daphne Major, inhabited by a wide range of seabirds. In the afternoon you will continue to nearby Bachas Beach at the north coast Santa Cruz. This beach is popular breeding ground for the Pacific green turtle; you will make a relaxed stroll along to a aquatic bird-rich saline lagoon.

 

Program:
AM: Early morning Sailing Catamaran Nemo I will navigate around the characteristic volcanic islet of Daphne Major.
PM: After welcome aboard Sailing Catamaran Nemo I, check-in, lunch buffet and the safety-drill you will make your first wet landing (bare feet) at Bachas Beach, followed by an easy stroll along the waterline of this coral sand beach. Filled with impressions you will return on board for dinner.

Navigation: At dinner time we will lift the anchor and sail about 7 hrs – depending on the sea state – south-west to Isabela.

 

AM: Daphne Major

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The characteristic offshore tuff cone of Daphne Major looks how a child draws a volcano islet. Perhaps you have already got a first glimpse of it from your airplane window on arrival. Access to the 120m/400ft high islet is restricted because of its fragility and susceptibility to erosion. On your last morning in Galapagos you will make a  dinghy-ride around. You can spot large flocks of storm petrels and other sea birds.

This islet forms an almost undisturbed semi-closed ecosystem and is therefore of great scientific interest. Coexisting Nazca boobies, red-billed tropicbirds, magnificent frigatebirds, blue-footed boobies and 8 other breeding species have nicely distributed different sections of the cone, according to their needs and the ecological niches they occupy. The caldera contains two craters, both completely white-plastered by the increments of blue-footed boobies, which have founded a very large breeding colony on this sheltered place. There is a colony of Galapagos sea lions on the only small beach. This islet also has been the location for an important multidecade study of Darwin’s finches. This concluded that population fluctuates strongly and finches that survived in dryer years were mainly the ones with larger beaks; results that supported strongly Darwin’s theory of natural selection and evolution.

 PM: Bachas Beach (Santa Cruz)

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Strolling along its coastline, blinding white Bachas Beach appears full of intertidal and bird life. But the symmetrical tuff cone-islet of Daphne Major will pull your eyes to the horizon as well. Beware of Galapagos sea lionsmarine iguanas, a shark fin or (seasonally) mating Pacific green turtles in the surf! Both quiet beaches have become their preferred nesting site on the main island of Santa Cruz. ‘Bachas’ refers to the ‘minefield of nest holes’ in the dunes strip; though others argue that it is a ‘Spanglish’ mispronunciation of ‘barks’, referring to two rusty landing vessels that have been left on the longer second beach in World War II, when the American US Air Force used BALTRA as a strategic base to defend the Panama Canal.

Sparkling orange coloured and heavy-armed sally lightfoot crabs play seek and hide with you when you want to picture them on the dark basaltic rocks. A brackish lagoon in the dunes houses different species of wade and shore birds, including black-necked stilts, white-cheeked pintails (or Bahama ducks) and hunting herons. Migratory aquatic birds that winter in Galapagos, such as whimbrels, also frequent this pond. As soon as water level drops and the lagoon becomes saltier, you might even encounter some American flamingos tirelessly filtering water to catch shrimp and algae!


Day 6 – Tuesday

First nightly crossing will bring you to Puerto Villamil on Isabela. In the next few days Nemo I will navigate clockwise around this by far largest island of the archipelago. Its larger living space seems to cause that evolution is hunting for records over here (although some are disputed). 

Huge marine iguanas crawl over undisturbed rocky islets just outside the harbour, which also contain a unique tidal channel where whitetip reef sharks rest. Saline lagoons in the wetlands house the largest insular colony of American flamingos and you will visit the botanical garden of another tortoise breeding center with native species.

 

Program:

AM: Before breakfast (we provide a snack) the inflatable dinghies will bring you to the Tintoreras islets for a guided hike to the tidal channel, following a rough volcanic rock trail (easy/moderate level). After breakfast you can experience some great snorkelling.
PM: After lunch you will have free time to enjoy Puerto Villamil and its striking beach. Than you will visit the local tortoise breeding center and the surrounding wetlands.
Overnight navigation: After dinner the anchor is lifted for rounding the southern lob of Isabela clockwise to its far west coast (about 6 hours). 
Additional options scuba-diving: Isla Tortuga, Cuatro Hermanos or Roca Viuda (advanced).

 

AM: Whitetip reef shark channel (Isabela/Tintoreras)

white tipped shark - GalapagosJust outside the harbour of Puerto Villamil (Isabela), a group of rocky islets protrude just above sea level. These are remnants of a lava flow that is demolished by the waves. A collapsed lava tube forms a channel that fills-up on high tide, while the entrance is closed on low tide. Marine life gets trapped, including turtles and elegant white-spotted eagle rays or golden rays. In the crystal clear water of this unique site  you can also observe whitetip reef sharks (called tintoreras in Spanish; to which the islets are named after) resting from their nocturnal hunts. This species of shark is fairly common in the archipelago, and often spotted on the seabed when snorkelling, but here you can see them dry and comfortably from the bank.
Unlike the beaches of Puerto Villamil, tiny plagues along these black rocks offer  undisturbed breeding places for marine iguanas. Over here the largest Isabela subspecies (up to 1,5m/5ft tall !) can reproduce successfully and thrive by hundreds. The rocky shoreline with its intertidal life also attracts sally lightfoot crabs, lava herons and occasional Galapagos penguinsGalapagos sea lions occupy the sand beach and complete this stereotypical Galapagos image.

 

PM: Arnoldo Tupiza Tortoise Breeding Center (Isabela)

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In Arnaldo Tupiza Tortoise Breeding Center you can see hundreds of giant Galapagos tortoises of all sizes. Vulnerable hatchlings are not gigantic at all, even smaller than the size of your hand! This project just outside Puerto Villamil is created to rescue the endangered populations of Isabela’s both southernmost volcanoes.
From the almost incredible estimations of 250,000 giant tortoises in the 16th century only remained about 3,000 individuals in the 1970s. One thing becomes clear on your visit: it’s hard work to save these queer creatures for extinction by reproduction in captivity and repopulation. The good news is that these programs are successful and have saved several species for extinction so far. By 2015 their number has increased up to about 32,000 in all archipelago.

Don’t forget to visit the native botanic garden of this breeding centre. It also attracts colourful songbirds such as yellow warblers, Darwin’s finches, Galapagos and vermillion flycatchers. Finally there is no greater counterpart to the cumbersome tortoises as the graceful American flamingos that frequently filter the saline waters of the adjacent lagoon for shrimp and algae. They are joined by a handful of species of aquatic and shore birds, from which some even migrate from Canada and Alaska.


Day 7 – Wednesday

At midnight Sailing Catamaran Nemo I will drop the anchor at the north cape of Floreana (Cormorant Point), where American flamingos use to forage and breed. For many Devil’s Crown is Galapagos deep water snorkelling site number one, and one of the very highlights of their cruise. Historical Post Office Bay seems to be located nearly at the end of the world.

Program:
AM: After breakfast and a wet landing at the greeny beach of Cormorant Point (wet landing) and walk to a powdery coral sand beach on the other side of the peninsula (easy level; about 1,5km/1mi). En route you can observe the American flamingo lagoon from different viewpoints.
Then it’s time for fantastic deep-water snorkelling around Devil’s Crown (though sometimes stronger currents). If this is not your thing or if you prefer bird watching, alternatively you can make a dinghy-ride.
PM: Post your holiday greetings in the historical barrel at Post Office Bay, one of three nearby visitor’s sites on Floreana’s north coast (short displacement, wet landing) and relax.
Overnight navigation: Around midnight the Galapagos Odyssey will navigate about 5 hours east to Española.
Additional options scuba-diving: choice out of 9 nearby diving sites (All levels)

 

AM: Cormorant Point (Floreana)

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The peninsula of Cormorant Point forms the extreme north cape of Floreana, which is pockmarked by numbers of smaller volcanic cones and covered by tropical dry forest (predominently palo santo). Please don’t expect to spot the flightless cormorant at Cormorant Point. This emblematic example of evolution lives exclusively in the remote west of Galapagos on Fernandina and Isabela (Route A). Instead, its salty lagoon is one of the best places in Galapagos to observe a breeding colony of American flamingos. Though, when breeding is done and the lagoon dries up, these exotic birds tend to be on the move to look for shrimps and algae from other saline lakes.

At the landing beach you will be welcomed by a small Galapagos sea lion-colony. The green sand contains a high percentage of glassy olivine crystals that have been blown out by the surrounding tuff cones. The ‘flour sand’ beach on the south side of the peninsula feels very smooth to your feet; this is pulverized by parrotfishes. Schools of sting rays in the surf love this powdery sand to hide themselves, and Pacific green turtles come ashore to burry their eggs in it at night (first months of the year). Next morning you can notice their tracks from the dunes, or eventually still catch an exhausted, delayed one, crawling back to sea.

 

AM: Devil´s Crown (Floreana)

The jagged crater rim of Devil’s Crown just protrudes sea level and is beaten by the waves.  The inner walls of the crater rim are coated with coral formations and protected against the surf. The depth and very transparent waters of this deep-water snorkelling site gives you some sensation of flying once you plunge in this huge tropical aquarium. You will swim amidst schools of thousands of brightly coloured tropical fish, as yellowtail surgeon fishesking angelfishes, and many other species. On the seabed you can distinguish resting whitetip reef sharks, different species of ray and starfishes. A Pacific green turtle or Galapagos sea lion might swim by, and don’t scare when you encounter scalloped hammerhead sharks!
Above sea level the dramatic decor of the jagged crater rim provides living space to lots of coastal birds, including lava gulls, blue-footed and Nazca boobies, brown pelicans, and red-billed tropicbirds. The opposite land head of Floreana is a nesting place for magnificent frigatebirds, where you could also head for during an alternative dinghy-ride.

 

PM: Post Office Bay (Floreana)

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Bring your unstamped postcards and post them in the peculiar barrel on this historic site. Together with James Bay (Santiago) this used to be a popular base to complement stocks. Present barrel commemorates the improvised mail service between British 16th century whalers and poachers. Returning vessels also picked-up letters for home delivery. Finally this post box became the termination of the flourishing British whaling industry in this region (Moby Dick), because it let the American frigate USS Essex easily locate and hijack British whalers during the Anglo-American War (1812-1815).


Day 8 – Thursday

Next island Española is located in the far southeastern corner of the archipelago. As one of its crown jewels, this bird watcher’s and photographer’s dream offers all that you might expect from Galapagos. Walk in a distance of just a few meters past waved albatrosses, booby colonies, sunbathing marine iguanas and Galapagos sea lions and feel yourself within an exciting nature documentary! Several endemic species give you the opportunity to become an eyewitness of evolution.

Program:
AM: Before breakfast (we provide a snack) you will make a ‘dry landing’ at Suarez Point. During a longer guided walk (moderate level; 4km/2.5 mi/about 2 hours) you will pass awakening sea bird colonies on top of the cliffs (some short scrambling passages; avoidable depths). Back on board you will have a deserved breakfast and will navigate about an hour. Next you can plunch into the alluring turquoise-coloured Gardner Bay for snorkelling.
PM: After lunch and a ‘wet landing’ (bare feet) on the wide sand beach you can stroll along the sea lions colony (easy level), or enjoy a moment of reflection, relaxation, or rolling with sea lions in the surf.
Overnight navigation: After dinner we will navigate 5hrs north and anchor just before midnight in the sheltered harbour of Puerto Ayora, where you can enjoy a quiet floating sleep.

 

AM: Suarez Point (Española)

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Huge ocean waves bang on the southern basaltic cliffs of Suarez Point, and form a spectacular blowhole, where a fountain of sea water sprays meters/feet high into the air (depending on the tide and how strong sea breeze pushes the waves). Take a meditative break in silence on this emblematic viewpoint to convert this unforgettable moment in a lifetime experience.

Waved albatrosses soar most time of their lives far out at sea and just come to Española (March-December) to breed and nurture their huge chick. This spectacular seabird is the only tropic albatross (critically endangered species). Besides some strayed individuals on Isla de La Plata (out off the Ecuadorian coast) it only breeds on Española, where you can witness its synchronous courtship dances, which include bowing, whistling and even a stylized form of ‘sword fighting’ with their bills (especially in October)!

Suarez Point is also a massive breeding site for Nazca and blue-footed boobies, swallow-tailed gulls and red-billed tropicbirdsBlue-footed boobies don’t bother to breed in the middle of the trail. Especially during the food-abundant garúa-season (2nd half of the year) you can admire amusing courtship dances, mating, breeding, emerging from the eggs, nurturing or first flight-attempts.

Española marine iguanas become bright red with a turquoise-colored crest and legs at the start of the breeding season (starting from Christmas). Hood lava lizards are the largest of the 7 endemic species in the islands, as well as endemic mockingbirds, that have turned to carnivorous behaviour!

 

PM: Gardner Bay (Española)

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Make your first ‘dive’ in the alluring turquoise-coloured Gardner Bay, and admire colourful reef fish, snorkel side by side with a Pacific green turtle, or find yourself in the middle of playful Galapagos sea lions.

The striking white coral sand beach is an important breeding site for Pacific green turtles. But without doubt its main attraction is the Galapagos sea lion colony. Females stay year round in this nursery, suckling their pups up to an age of 3 years, although these start to learn fishing already after 5 months. During the breeding- and mating season the colony becomes even more populous. The strongest bachelors and elder males return from their secluded bases and start again to conquer and defend their part of the 1300m/4250ft long beach. Pregnant females choose the best territory to give birth, and will mate again with their landlord within a month.


Day 9 – Friday

This cruise itinerary ends in Puerto Ayora. En route to the airport you will visit the successful breeding center at the Charles Darwin Research Station. Without any doubt most-emblematic representatives of the archipelago are the Galapagos giant tortoises.

Program:
AM: After an early breakfast it’s time say goodbye and to leave the yacht. The dinghies will bring you to the pier of Puerto Ayora, where you can visit the Charles Darwin Research Station before continuing to the airport.

 

AM: Charles Darwin Research Station (Santa Cruz)

Turtle - GalapagosAlthough the great majority of Galapagos visitors come here to observe and appreciate natural wonders, it is also interesting to learn how the protection and conservation of the islands are carried out. The Breeding and Rearing area of the scientific center are definitely a worthwhile visit.

This excursion will be accompanied by another guide, while your naturalist guide will visit the highlands with those passengers that stay longer on board.

AM: Transfer to Baltra airport

Assisted by the naturalist guide and some crew members the dinghy will bring you and your luggage to Baltra, where we take the airport shuttle. Your guide will accompany you until the check-in counters in the departure hall.

We expect that you will return home with stunning pictures and unforgettable memories for life!

2014 Nemo I - Galapagos Sailing Catamaran.