Home » Nemo I: North & West Galapagos Islands
The Nemo I will give you the opportunity to cruise around the pristine islands and observe the amazing wildlife both on land and underwater. Here you can witness the rare wilderness where animals have no instinctive fear of humans. The Nemo I will provide you with the opportunity to explore the 'living museum and showcase of evolution' while being comfortable and cruising in style.
Duration: 8 Days
At Baltra Airport you have to pay your Galapagos National Park entrance fee and your luggage is inspected. In front of the arrival hall you will meet your naturalist guide and fellow passengers, and the airport shuttle will transfer you to the ferry across the Itabaca Channel. On Santa Cruz you continue by bus through the lush highlands to the harbour of Puerto Ayora. Our inflatable dinghies (‘zodiacs’) take you the last stretch to the yacht.
The tabletop islet of North Seymour is an uplifted part of the seabed. Between the dry shrubs you might perceive a Galapagos land iguana. North Seymour originally did not count with land iguanas, but in the 1930s an eccentric American millionaire moved the last generation from Baltra, and saved them for starvation caused by competition with introduced goats; the afterwards breeding program at Charles Darwin Research Station turned into a big success.
Genovesa’s horseshoe shaped wall shows unmistakably that we have anchored inside the partly collapsed and submerged caldera of a submarine volcano! The visitor’s site named Darwin Bay is located at the very rear. This compact site shows the extreme varied coastal ecosystems of Galapagos in miniature. The trail starts from the coral sand beach and subsequently passes a zone with salt bushes and mangroves, than crosses tidal creeks and barren lava formations, dry shrub lands, and finally turns on the ridge of some cliffs.
Before landing you will make a dinghy-ride along the eastern arm of the caldera. Sometimes a Galapagos fur seal is resting on one of the shaded ledges. Although there are also seabirds, the real spectacle will find place on top and on the outside of the rim, which provide better perching and nesting places. Therefore you have to hike and overcome the steep stairs from the landing dock to a bush of palo santo shrubs on top.
The wild romantic volcano islet of Bartolome is among the youngest of the islands, and on a geological scale just recently born out off fire. Although tiny (only 120ha/300ac) and at first sight lifeless, Bartolome offers some of the wildest landscapes and best panoramas in the entire archipelago. To enjoy the postcard view of the idyllic ‘Pinnacle Bay’ you have to climb the stairs to the viewpoint on top of the island (114m/375ft). Enter suddenly a dramatical world of threatening (though extinguished) nearby spatter cones, craters, and lightweight lava droplets that have been spewed out by fiery fountains. The Summit Trail is also ideal to witness how scanty pioneer vegetation such as lava cactus is struggling to take root in the bare virgin lava fields.
Chinese Hat is a 52m high volcanic cone, forming another islet right out off the rocky coast of Santiago, where a small colony of Galapagos penguins has settled. Approaching Chinese Hat from the north, you certainly will agree with its name. Because its primordial fire has been extinguished recently, this is an excellent place to learn more about volcanism, lava bombs and lava tunnels. On the beach you can also find curious pillow-type lavas with coral heads on top! These spheres have a submarine origin before being lifted above sea level.
Santa Cruz offers excellent opportunities for viewing wild Galapagos giant tortoises, roaming through pastures in the agricultural zone and in the transition zone of El Chato Tortoise Reserve. The pond in the native forest reserve is the most authentic setting, but sometimes also requires an adventurous quest for these silent heavyweights. Than you have to listen carefully for the sound of heavy footsteps and of shrubs being slowly crushed. Most time of their stretched lives is spent slowly and silently, except for a warning hiss, or loud screams during mating, which can be heard from far in the first half of the year.
The Charles Darwin Research Station (CDRS) and the headquarters of the Galapagos National Park Service share same location on the outskirts of Puerto Ayora. From here biological research and indispensable conservation management of this unique archipelago are directed. The complex houses a bunch of interpretation and information centres about the National Park and the Galapagos Marine Reserve around.
Moreno Point tells the continuing story of the famous lunatic lava fields of Sullivan Bay (actually not visited by Catamaran Nemo). This once lifeless lava field becomes dotted with tidal pools and filtration lagoons since parts of the crust have broken and fallen into the undermining lava tunnels.
The Marielas islets are an excellent place to spot marine iguanas and small family groups of Galapagos penguins in the front row of the cliffs. The endangered Galapagos penguin is the rarest penguin species worldwide (just some 1500 birds over all archipelago; please don’t expect vast colonies as in Antarctic regions). Lofty palo santo-trees on top of the cliffs provide magnificent frigatebirds a lookout to rob returning blue-footed boobies.
Espinosa Point is Fernandina’s only terrestrial visitors site, and one of the few locations where you will find some bizarre outgrowths of natural selection. Figurehead is the emblematic flightless cormorant that lives exclusively in the remote west of Galapagos, and could be considered as the ‘holy grail of evolution’. The cormorant had not to fear terrestrial enemies and lets you approach very close. Next generations gradually lost their flying capabilities to become excellent divers. Together with its neighbour, the Galapagos penguin, these are two of the rarest and most vulnerable bird species in the world, with less than 2000 individuals each.
Urbina Bay presents you Isabela’s latest geologic curiosity. In 1954 tectonic forces lifted the former seabed several meters above sea level and formed present coastal plain. The tilted seabed ran dry at once and 6kms/3,75mi of coastline was shifted outward. Pretty far land inward you can find marine remnants, such as fish bones, shells, scales from lobsters, urchins and corals.
Dominated by Sugarloaf Hill (395m/1300ft) and named after a former salt mine (1960s), Puerto Egas is the southernmost visitors site along James Bay. Its masterly sculptured coastline of black basalts and polished multi-coloured ash-layers forms a photogenic scenery with collapsed lava tunnels, natural arches, caves and blowholes such as ‘Darwin’s toilet’.
Espumilla Beach has revived as an important breeding site for turtles, as it is no longer suffering from digging wild pigs. The turtles return year after year to burry their eggs into the cinnamon coloured sand dunes. About two months later (roughly from February to August) the eggs hatch at once. Most vulnerable hatchlings never will reach sea, and form a banquet for predators such as herons, frigatebirds, mockingbirds and ghost crabs.
The characteristic offshore tuff cone of Daphne Major looks how a child draws a volcano islet. Perhaps you have already got a first glimpse of it from your airplane window on arrival. Access to the 120m/400ft high islet is restricted because of its fragility and susceptibility to erosion. On your last morning in Galapagos you will make a dinghy-ride around. You can spot large flocks of storm petrels and other sea birds.
Transfer to Baltra airport for your flight back to Guayaquil or Quito.
|16 Dec 2019 - 23 Dec 2019||$5110 AUD pp|
|Double Cabin||AUD $5110pp||Contact us|
|Twin Cabin||AUD $5110pp||Contact us|
Double bed, private bathroom (hot/cold water, hand shower and toilet), controlled air conditioning, fan and storage space.
Single upper and lower bunk, private bathroom (hot/cold water, hand shower and toilet), controlled air conditioning, fan and storage space.
Single upper bunk, lower double bunk, private bathroom (hot/cold water, hand shower and toilet), controlled air conditioning, fan and storage space.