Galapagos (5) – Cruise (1) – Santa Cruz Island

Thursday 14/06

I wake up with the alarm clock, at 8:20am.

We take the breakfast and then pack our bags. We are leaving today for a 4-night cruise, mainly in the west of the Galápagos Islands (mainly around Isabella Island): Isabella, Fernandina and Santiago Islands (see below map).

The World Cup starts today. We will try to follow the games of the Belgian team as much as possible but we gonna miss the 2 first ones: we’ll be on the cruise boat for the first one (maybe we’ll be able to watch the second half) and in the plane (to LA) for the second one… Damn!

Around 10am, we go to the nearby Renewable Energies museum. It’s small but interesting; the different renewable energies are well explained and there’s an interesting movie (presented by David Attenborough) about the island, on a nice big curved screen.

We come back in the hotel at 11:15am, just on time for our (pickup) transport to the port. We leave 2 bags in the agency office in town and we then go with a small boat to our (catamaran) cruise boat, the Nemo I, which is a 14-passenger sailing catamaran; it is one of the fastest sailing catamaran in Galapagos. Its length is 25m and its width 10m.

Our (3) cabins are small, with bunk beds. Isabelle sleeps alone. The boat is nice.

We have (nice) lunch onboard (buffet) and we then go onshore again, to visit the Charles Darwin Research Centre. Our guide is very knowledgeable; he speaks slowly, choosing carefully his words. He’s very committed to the conservation of the Galapagos. We see the giant tortoises and learn about their conservation programme.

We have 1h30 to spend ashore after the visit. We go once more to Galapagos Deli to eat one of their wonderful artisanal ice creams (except Jules who ate a frozen yoghurt on the way).

At 5pm, we go back to the boat where we have the briefing about tomorrow’s programme (+ a quick introduction about the boat).

We’ll start sailing at 8pm, for 11 hours. They recommend to take a pill against motion sickness, which the whole family does (I’ll take mine during dinner).

We chill until the dinner, at 7pm. We explore the deck. There’s a lot of room. We see baby sharks, seal and sea turtle around the boat.

Shrimps (and also meat) for dinner, with rice and vegetables.

The total number of tourists on the boat is 13 including the 5 of us. There are 2 Italians and 6 Americans. With these people and the Ecuadorian crew, there’s no chance that we’ll talk about the World Cup…

Kids and Isabelle are in bed before 8pm!

I stay up until 9pm. I start feeling the effects of the pill…


A few interesting facts about the Galapagos (more in the next posts):

  • How did the animals and the plants arrive?

The first of the flora and fauna were carried here by the winds and ocean currents. The great majority came from the coasts of South and Central America.

  • Galapagos: paradise of reptiles

Vegetation rafts from the continent would take a minimum of 2 weeks to reach Galapagos. Only those species capable of withstanding the lack of water, such as reptiles, could survive this journey. In the absence of predators and mammalian competitors, reptiles such as the tortoises and land iguanas thrived and became the dominant land animals.

Amphibians, such as frogs, that have a moist and sensitive skin, live very little time without freshwater and shade.

Amphibians do not occur in the Archipelago; if one had been trapped on a natural raft, it would have died long before reaching the islands.

  • After arrival, there were many difficulties…

The pioneer species had to find a place to live, find a mate, and raise young. Very few were successful. Those able to adapt faces a new and fascinating process of natural selection.

  • Why are the plants and animals of Galapagos different from those on the mainland?

Evolution, or change in the form and behavior of species, obeys the necessity of adaptation to a new environment. Only those most fit can survive; the less fit are eliminated .This dramatic process is known as ‘natural selection’. The evolution of species, as a consequence of natural selection, makes it possible that, from generation to generation, favourable characteristics are transmitted that permit a better adaptation. For this reason, the organisms that now inhabit the islands are very different from their mainland ancestors.


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