Charles Darwin’s Commemoration aboard Yacht La Pinta was celebrated by our guests and crew on the 15th of September, 2017, but the story begins many years ago. One 15th of September, 182 years ago, a young Charles Darwin arrived to the Enchanted Islands aboard the HMS Beagle more excited than ever to witness the magic of the islands after all the stories he’d heard. It was thanks to his interest in taxidermy, geology, and natural history that Darwin found himself invited to partake in a voyage around the world alongside Captain Fitzroy and his crew. And while Charles Darwin soon enough found out that he was not at all built for voyages at sea, he remained aboard the Beagle for its extended 5-year journey (a length of time that ended up being much longer than initially planned).
The Galapagos has two seasons that are easily distinguished, the hot season and the dry season. Both of these display differences in how the landscape is affected. The hot season looks lush and green while the dry season in the Galapagos presents an overwhelming palate of cindery brown that’s caused by the lack of rain. Something else to keep in mind is that the hot season brings in warmer currents, while the dry season is known for its colder but more-than-tolerable temperatures. The beauty of the Galapagos is that no matter the season, the amazing wildlife (see Galapagos Big15) and beautiful scenery is on display all year long. June marks the beginning of the dry season that lasts all the way up to the month of December. Up ahead are a few facts about the dry season that’s beginning during this time of year, so read on and get informed on what to expect during your Galapagos adventure aboard the amazing Yacht La Pinta.
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.
On February 12th, our guests and crew celebrated International Darwin Day aboard Yacht La Pinta. The date marks what would have been Charles Darwin’s 209th birthday. The La Pinta crew organized a day of events in honour of the legacy of the famed English biologist and his connection with the Galapagos archipelago. Darwin’s 1835 visit to the Galapagos would later come to change scientific inquiry and intellectual history forever. The La Pinta Darwin Day celebrations included costumes, lectures, and birthday cake!
The 334 giant tortoises released in Galapagos last month had been raised in Ministry of the Environment-sponsored breeding centers on Santa Cruz and Isabela Islands. Many Galapagos giant tortoise populations are endangered as a result of human exploitation and changes to the reptiles’ natural habitats. Conservationist efforts to the recover the endangered species include raising tortoises in breeding centers with the eventual goal of releasing them into the wild. The project reached a goal last month when adult tortoises were released from the Fausto Llerena Tortoise Breeding Center on Santa Cruz Island and the Arnaldo Tupiza Tortoise Breeding Center on Isabela Island.
With so many Galapagos activities, you may want to plan out your vacation as carefully as possible. You’ll need to decide between quiet or adventurous activities as you explore these beautiful islands. You can do all or none; it’s your holiday anyway. Just know that an expedition will inspire you to always want to do more.
Visiting the Galapagos is, for many, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. While planning the trip, you will want to do everything possible to enjoy the trip as much as you can. Learn how to get the most out of your Galapagos Island Vacation, and remember that if you couldn’t do all the activities you wanted or see all the sites you researched, simply plan a second trip to the islands. With so many travel options, it is quite easy to plan not only one trip.
Fernandina Island in Galapagos is the youngest of all the volcanic islands in the archipelago. This makes it a unique tourist destination with lava flows and virtually untouched wildlife colonies.