Our 7 nights western route is a mini-expedition to the largest sea bird colonies and some of the remotest corners of Galapagos; outer islands belong often to the more exclusive places. This adventurous route contains longer nightly navigation stretches (but Sailing Catamaran Nemo I is faster than average, and you will also have two relatively quiet floating nights). After visiting North Seymour and Genovesa, 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 round the sea bird laden volcano islet of Daphne Major. Though less frequented than popular central and south-eastern islands, the volcanic north offers most dramatic landscapes and reveal the first chapter of evolution. And 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. During a climb to the rim of the huge caldera of Sierra Negra and on the volcano islets of Bartolome and Chinese Hat you will get impressed by the volcanic forces that still create the islands. Discover how pioneer species conquer barren lava fields and create habitats for new colonist species. Walk at very short distance past frigatebirds, blue-footed boobies, red-footed and Nazca boobies whilst courtshipping, mating, breeding, nurturing or learning to fly (depending on the season). Furthermore, en route you will have chances to see emblematic and endemic Galapagos land iguanas, American flamingos and exciting whale watching! Please Note: Christmas net surcharges: Dec 21-27: USD 300 pp; Dec 24-27: USD 200 pp; Dec 24-31: USD 350 pp; Dec 27-31: USD 250 pp. New Year net surcharges: Dec 31-Jan 4 USD 250 pp; Dec 31-Jan 7: USD 350 pp; Jan 4-7: USD 200 pp.
AM: Arrival at Baltra AirportUpon arrival at Baltra Airport, you will first pass through an airport inspection point where your TCT (Transit Control Card) will be checked and stamped (please keep this carefully with your passport as you will need to show it again when you leave Galapagos). Here you will also pay the Galapagos National Park entrance fee of USD 100 (unless it has been prepaid). To ensure that no foreign plants or animals are introduced to the islands, your luggage will be inspected as well. At the arrival hall a naturalist guide will meet you and escort you on a short bus ride to the harbor at Baltra. By dinghy you will be taken to the yacht.PM: North Seymour IslandNorth Seymour is an uplifted (different to volcanic origin) island and so is generally flat and strewn with boulders. There are good nesting sites here for a large population of magnificent frigate birds. Blue-footed boobies perform their courtship dance in the more open areas and swallow-tailed gulls perch on the cliff edges. Despite the tremendous surf that can pound the outer shore, sea lions haul out onto the beach and can be found bodysurfing.Watch your step, as the boobies don’t worry much about where they nest, and you might just step on one. The trees are dotted with male frigate birds trying to attract the attention of the ladies by inflating their bright red skin flaps (seasonal activity). They sometimes fly in the air to call more attention to themselves. There’s a circular path that takes you through the island to a beautiful, rocky shore where the waves crash with a silvery-blue color.
AM: Darwin Bay (Genovesa)This bay has origin when the crater of this island collapsed below sea level. The wet landing is on a beautiful white coral sandy beach. This is a favorite island for birdwatchers: red footed-boobies, masked boobies, wandering tattlers, lava gulls, whimbrels Yellow-crowned, black-crowned and lava herons, and yellow warblers can be seen in the area.Continuing on the trail, visitors climb gradually to the edge of the cliff seeing Red-Foots nesting in the Mangrove trees below. Bird watching includes sightings of Sharp-Beaked Finches, Large Cactus and Ground Finches, Galapagos Doves and Swallow-Tailed Gulls. Reaching the end the trail at the cliff’s edge offers an incredible view of the island and the many birds living there.PM: Prince Phillip Steps (Genovesa)El Barranco is located at the southern part of Darwin Bay and it is also known as Prince Philip’s Steps. Passengers will climb to a plateau that is part of the stretch of land that surrounds Darwin Bay on its eastern side. There is a big population of Masked boobies and Red-Footed boobies in the trees; Storm petrels and Short-eared Owls have found the ideal place for nesting in the lava flows.
AM: BartolomeBartolome Island is situated across Sullivan Bay. It has an altitude of 114 meters, from where we can observe one of the most beautiful sceneries of the Galapagos Islands such as: Volcanic cones, lunar-like craters, lava fields, and the famous Toba formed pinnacle eroded by the sea. There is very little vegetation on this island.It has two breathtaking beaches where marine turtles exist and at the base of the pinnacle, as well as a very small colony of Galapagos penguins.PM: Chinese HatThis is a small islet (1 sq km) located just off the southeastern tip of Santiago Island. It is a recent volcanic cone, shaped like a Chinese hat when seen from north side. On the west side lava formations may be observed, formed under the sea and raised upward, this is why coral heads are found on the lava. This is an excellent visit for interpretation of geological features such as lava tubes and lava flows. The landscape is covered by sea lions colonies, marine iguanas and Galapagos penguins.
AM: Santa Cruz Highlands Tortoises FarmSanta Cruz also offers excellent opportunities for viewing wild tortoises, both roaming through pastures in the agricultural zone and in the Tortoise Reserve, which is accessible from Santa Rosa or Salasaca. Several farms serve food and allow visitors to explore their grounds in search of tortoises. Descending through the agricultural zone into the Transition Zone where the Tortoise Reserve is located, the introduced vegetation of the farmlands is replaced by native vegetation. The pond at El Chato is surrounded by forest where short-eared owls, Darwin’s finches, Vermilion Flycatchers, Yellow Warblers, Galapagos Rails, and Paint-billed Crakes can be seen. As the visitor walks into the forests overgrown with lichens, ferns, and other epiphytes, it is time to listen carefully for the sound of heavy footsteps and the sound of shrubs being slowly crushed as the tortoises make their way through the brush.PM: Charles Darwin Station, Santa Cruz IslandAlthough 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.
AM: Punta Moreno (Isabela)Punta Moreno is located on the north coast of Isabela Island between the volcano Sierra Negra and the Cerro Azul volcano. The trail runs along a lava flow Pahohoe (solidified lava in the form of an accordion) into a complex of coastal lagoons. Its main attractions are several species of birds which can be found around the lakes and mangroves.PM: Elizabeth Bay, IsabelaThis is a marine visitor site, the excursion is carried out in a zodiac and so there is no landing point. Your zodiac ride starts with a visit to the Marielas islets where there is the largest and most important penguin colony in the Galapagos Islands. The excursion continues into the cove that is surrounded by red mangroves where you can admire their red roots and green leafs. It is here that you are able to observe sea turtles, flightless cormorants, spotted eagle rays, golden rays, brown pelicans and sea lions. Frequently visitors have been able to see Galapagos Hawks soaring overhead whilst schools of Pompano and Dorado fish swim below.
AM: Punta Espinosa (Fernandina)Fernandina is the third largest island in the archipelago and the site Punta Espinosa is located at the northeastern tip of the island. Just across Tagus Cove, is a visitor’s site where various unique species of Galapagos can be seen. Marine iguanas conglomerate in larger groups than in any other island. They bask around in the sand, swim near the shore and sometimes block the way at the landing dock. Among the unique species found here, is the Flightless Comorant. A bird that, due to the lack of predators, evolved differently; it’s wings, tails and feet progressively adapted for swimming. To see these birds, is to witness evolution happening right in front of you. You can observe the flightless cormorants and penguins very closely.PM: Urbina Bay, Isabela IslandUrbina Bay is located along the west coast of Isabela, between Elizabeth Bay and Tagus Cove. It is close to the base of the Alcedo Volcano. The coastline has undergone a major uplift in 1954, which caused the shore to expand three quarters of a mile out. Here you will be able to find corals, shells, and many other calcareous organisms exposed above water. Urbina Bay is home to large and colorful land iguanas and giant tortoises of the Alcedo Volcano population. A lot of Darwin finches can be seen as well.
AM: Puerto Egas (Santiago)Its black beach is located at the west side of the island and is its main attraction. Volcanic tuff deposits have favored the formation of this special black sand beach. This site is called Puerto Egas, because there was an attempt of the company of Hector Egas to start the exploitation of salt. It failed, because the price of salt in the continent was very low and did not justify its exploitation in Galapagos. Thus the project was abandoned.PM: Espumilla Beach, Bucaneer Cove (Santiago)Espumilla beach is located at the northern coast of Santiago Island in James Bay. During the last presence of the “El Niño phenomenon”, one of the two lagoons of this site underwent a process of sedimentation, thus causing the disappearance of a representative colony of flamingos. The main attraction is the palo santo forest. The beach is an important site for nesting marine turtles. At the nearby Buccaneers Cove we have a great snorkeling opportunity.
AM: Daphne MajorDaphne Major is a volcanic island just north of Santa Cruz Island and just west of Baltra Island. It consists of a tuff crater rising 120 m. above the sea. An intensive study of Darwin’s finches has taken place here by the biologists Peter and Rosemary Grant. Their results have been supporting strongly Darwin’s theory of evolution. We are not allowed onto the island. Daphne offers a big variety of other birds including Galápagos Martins, Blue-footed Booby, Nazca Booby, Short-eared Owls, Red-billed Tropicbirds and Magnificent Frigate birds.Transfer to Baltra airport for your flight back to Guayaquil or Quito.
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.
Vessel Type: Motor Sail Catamaran Length: 25m Passenger Capacity: 14 Built / refurbished: 1996 / 2014 The Nemo I (also known as the Nemo Martinica) is a 14-passenger sailing catamaran, offering a unique cruising experience in the Galapagos Archipelago. The catamaran was designed and built in France by Dufour & Sparks. On this catamaran you will experience the Galapagos Archipelago to its fullest. Most social areas are open deck spaces where you will constantly enjoy the most spectacular views of the islands and their volcanic rock formations. These areas include various lounges and catamaran netting at the front. Meals are served in the indoor and outdoor dining areas. When weather conditions permit we can turn off the engines and raise the sails, navigating silently through one the world’s natural wonders. The rich and spectacular Galapagos wildlife is the most important aspect of every naturalist cruise, but not the single and only factor that paints Holiday memories for the rest of your life. MS/C Nemo I contributes truly to a comfortable and pleasant stay as well. We follow fascinating routes in a more adventurous way, accompanied by an excellent naturalist guide, including time to unwind from the well-filled excursion program. Our chef will pamper you with a rich breakfast buffet, snacks, exquisite warm lunch and dinner served in buffet style. During your cruise you can fully enjoy the unrestrained ambience and personal service on board.
• Guided hikes during island visits • Dinghy-rides (in an inflatable dinghy, ‘Zodiac’ or ‘panga’) • Snorkelling & swimming • Sea-kayaking • Visit to a Galapagos giant tortoise breeding project, visitor’s Centre & interpretative botanic trail • Time for relaxing and realizing on which unique place you have ended up