Necessity is often regarded as the mother of invention, but every now and then it also unfortunately becomes the mother of unabashed destruction. Such is the case with the La Pinta Island tortoise. With only a small vestige of their presence that is the taxidermized remnant of their species, the extinction of the La Pinta Island tortoise is perhaps a permanent blemish on the face of the archipelago that continues to live with us today. Nevertheless, the scars we carry are almost always there to help us learn from the past in some way. In this blog we take a look at this species and the history behind its extinction. Read More
We’ve all dreamt of being able to fly. It’s an longing that probably originated the moment we looked up and marvelled at the birds as they soared across the great blue sky, wondering what it must be like to admire the world from high above. Human imagination and science have both given us the ability to do such a thing, and these have fortunately never been taken it away from us. But what if evolution took that away from the very birds that inspired us to fly? For them, would the fall from grace be as blunt and backwards as it sounds? In the Galapagos, we can visually experience such a case in nature. It seems that only a select group of cormorants in the entire world have been picked for such a peculiar adaptation, and these are the flightless cormorants (Phalacrocorax harrisi) of the Galapagos. In this blog, we briefly sift through the different theories that have been presented to try decipher the mystery behind these cormorants and their long-forgotten ability to fly.
Measure, Measure, Measure…
One of the greatest things about travel is that it requires planning. Sometimes, this planning involves packing, logistics, flights, decisions, and much more; in fact, that is the beauty of travel. A doses of the unknown is also welcome when travelling, as it brings a feeling of exploration and adventure. However, nothing beats the importance of planning a trip when it comes to calculating distances. Some will measure this in kilometres, others in miles, and others will measure travel in terms of weeks. No matter how you measure a trip, one thing is for sure: calculating the distance between point A and point B, and anything in between, is where the essence of travel lies. But, here comes the best part. What if I travel on water and land? Will it make any difference? Explorers back in the day figured this out, and designed a system to measure distance in open ocean, and a different one to measure distance on land. But, why two measuring units? There’s very interesting science behind this, and you’ll love it!
Summer is coming, and with it comes a plethora of destinations to visit to around the globe! To help narrow things down, however, National Geographic has just published its list of its Best Summer Trips 2017 and guess what’s included? The Galapagos as a summer destination! Writer Jodi Ettenberg categorized it as a destination worth going to if you “like a good water and wildlife combo.” Ettenberg also highlights the fact that this summer will see the blue-footed boobies performing their mating dance, sea lions birthing and humpback whales arriving to the archipelago. Aboard Yacht La Pinta you’ll get to experience these wonderful sights this summer on our varied yet complete Galapagos itineraries. Below we pick out the highlights found along the way.
While visiting Bartolome Island during the Northern Islands itinerary, guests will stop at one of the most iconic sites throughout the Galapagos. Widely photographed and serving as one of its most recognizable pieces of landscape is Pinnacle Rock. This formation is the result of magma expelled from the Bartolome volcano that later cooled and hardened when it reached the sea. This black lava formation used to be a tuff cone (also called an ash cone) comprised of soft volcanic material. These qualities made it very easy to erode, which resulted in its unusually pointy shape. Other ash cones can be seen throughout the archipelago, but none with the peculiar shape of Pinnacle Rock. The formation blends beautifully with the sandy beach located right below it. Here, guests will have the chance to swim with Galapagos sea lions, schools of colourful fishes and even the rare Galapagos penguin.
This amazing scenery can be enjoyed from a strategically located viewpoint that sits opposite the cone. Just get ready for a walk up the hill to snap some gorgeous photos from said viewpoint!
Galapagos Giant tortoises In the Wild!
Coming to the Galapagos Islands and not seeing a Galapagos giant tortoise is like going to Paris and not seeing the Eiffel Tower. When you visit the archipelago, it is very likely that at some point throughout your itinerary you will get the chance to get a closer look at these beautiful, patient, and slow-moving reptiles. Additionally, you’ll get the chance to visit one of the National Park’s breeding centres and admire the great efforts that the park (along with other NGO’s) are making to restore the tortoise population.
Seeing them in the wild, however, is often a thrilling and fantastic experience that can be compared to walking through a cageless zoo. You might get excited when you see a majestic lion in its enclosure, but the feeling of wonder you experience when viewing the same animal in its natural habitat is truly fascinating. While visiting Santa Cruz Island during your Eastern Islands itinerary you well get the unique chance to get ridiculously close to the amazing Galapagos giants within their own and open territory: “running” around wild and free.
Check out the following 360-video of a Galapagos giant tortoise walking by. Note: By clicking and dragging the video screen, you can change the angle of the camera as you’re watching!
Fernandina Island is ranked among the top 3 must-see islands in the Galapagos. The reason for this is that it is one of the youngest islands in the whole archipelago and is the site of occasional volcanic activities. Not only that, Fernandina is home to one of the biggest colonies of marine iguanas and offers visitors the chance to walk across a beautifully abstract terrain that looks like something out of a surrealist painting.
Most noteworthy amongst all the creatures that live here, however, is the endemic flightless cormorant (found only on the Western Islands). Guests visiting Fernandina will get to watch in amusement as this unusual species of bird swimming and flaps around while attempting to dry its vestigial wings. Amazing Fernandina is visited as part of Yacht La Pinta’s Western Islands Itinerary.
Often times, sea turtle facts won’t mention that they’re involuntarily sneaky creatures. Sea turtles often move so slowly and gracefully that you’ll often be shocked to find them swimming right beside you. They also sometimes blend in with the rocks and sand so well that you might even mistake them for being a part of the reef. Pixar actually nailed it in Finding Nemo when they represented sea turtles as being the “surfer dudes” of the underwater community – their slow-motion flippers emanating a sense of tranquillity and chillness that’s completely in tune with the flow of the ocean around them. Read More
It’s the month of May, the peak of nesting season for albatrosses. Found only on Española, the southernmost island of the archipelago, albatrosses are the Galapagos’ largest birds – with a wingspan of 7 to 8 feet (2 metres) – and are truly mesmerizing to watch. Make sure you check them off your Galapagos Big15 list! You will visit Española through our amazing Eastern Islands itinerary on Yacht La Pinta.
Isolated and enigmatic, the enchanted isles seem like the perfect bubble of mischief for unusual things to evolve, stir and flutter about. Enter the Vampire Finch, a character in the Galapagos’ never ending book of evolution that’s both equal parts incredible and disturbing. As the name implies, it’s a parasitic bird that evolved to acquire its food in a really peculiar way. Read More
A Must-see Rarity: Red-footed Boobies in the Galapagos
Red-footed boobies in the Galapagos: you have not really been here if you haven’t seen them. These seabirds, related to their also famous blue-footed cousins, are something to behold. Not only because of specific characteristics that make them truly fit to thrive in the archipelago, but also because they are only seen at two spots that are visited through our Northern Itinerary and Eastern Itinerary. If you want the true Galapagos experience, make sure you see some of the rarest species of the islands. Get more acquainted with these amazing birds and be one of the few people in the world who gets to observe them in their natural habitat.
Talk about your unorthodox Passover seder! While most of Ecuador is reveling in Holy Week pageantry, this Jewish family decided to create a celebration of its own with a Passover seder on board a La Pinta Galapagos cruise. As a little bit of background for those not in the know, the Passover seder is a ritual meal, consisting of an orderly reading of the story of the Jewish people’s Exodus from Egypt, where they ditched slavery and gained their liberty. Each year for millenia, through ceremonies short and long, religious or spiritual – and more matzo ball soup than even Grandma thought possible – families get together so that each one can remember the hardships of slavery and the crucial importance of freedom.
Yacht La Pinta: 16 – 20 March: A Marriage Proposal at Sea
Prehistoric-looking creatures, raw volcanic earth spewing plumes of hot smoke, and blazing sunsets raging overhead. There’s something about the enchanted isles that brings us closer to the root of our existence on this beautiful planet. Theories abound for how evolution got us here, for why certain species tend to have monogamous pairing while others mysteriously choose to die alone. But as humans, the question always lingers: how would we have gotten to where we are today, if not for our relationships with one another?