Despite having only recently visited the Galapagos Islands, I had an overwhelming desire to return, feeling there was unfinished business. My previous trip focused on the southern and western islands – and, as colleagues and friends told me the other half of the archipelago offers a very different experience, I was left with no option but to board a plane back to ‘paradise’.
Within moments of landing at Baltra airport, wonderful memories of my last visit came flooding back. As we made our way down to the nearby pier, we were greeted by the coolly confident sea lions. These relax in areas typically reserved for humans as though they own the place, which isn’t far from the truth! They were here before mankind and are one of the reasons we flock to the islands in our thousands each year. Nonetheless, it is still slightly surreal to see them basking in the sun in the children’s playground or on the sun loungers while families and beachgoers frolic nearby.
The fearless nature of the local wildlife is without doubt one of the most striking features of the islands and appealing to wildlife enthusiasts and photographers alike. I certainly enjoyed it from what was, on this occasion, my home – a beautiful motor yacht called the Majestic, specifically designed and built for Galapagos cruises. With a maximum of 18 guests, it offers a very intimate and personal experience. The social areas on board are tastefully furnished and very spacious, in particular the sundeck, which includes a Jacuzzi. There were nine crew members on board led by an extremely experienced captain, Juan and one certified, bilingual naturalist, James.
Over the next few days, we navigated around the central islands (Santa Cruz, San Cristobel, Rabida etc.) and out to the most northern island, Genovesa, with several landings and snorkelling opportunities at each. The team on board do their utmost to cater to all of our needs, whether it be a particular dietary request at dinner or to have ‘just another 5 minutes’ with a turtle or the photographers among the group searching for the ‘perfect’ image. Flexibility and patience is paramount on a small group expedition like this – and thankfully, James has an abundance of both.
Stay tuned for the second part of this story in the WILDFOOT Journal – and feel free to contact our team if you would like to learn more about our acclaimed and comprehensive Galapagos cruises.