You will be picked up and transfered to the airport for your flight to the Galapagos Islands.
Arrive Baltra Island, Galapagos.
Upon arrival to the Galapagos Islands from mainland Ecuador, you are met by members of your vessel's expedition team at the airport. You will be transferred to your awaiting vessel for embarkation and commencement of your 4-night Galapagos Islands cruise.
Note: The cruise itinerary is subject to change without notice for various factors including but not limited to: safety, weather, mechanical breakdown, unforeseen emergencies, and the discretion of the Captain, Guide, and the Galapagos National Park. The Galápagos is a natural ecosystem, making animal encounters there ultimately unpredictable and therefore exceptional in the way they typically occur. Though Galápagos species seem to have little fear of humans, they are wild animals subject to environmental factors, including their own instincts that can affect sightings, which means these encounters cannot be guaranteed. Accepting all these factors, including adhering to the rules of the Galápagos National Park, is a condition of participation on this trip.
Types of Landings: Wet and Dry
Wet Landing: Pangas (Zodiac-type boats) cannot always make it all the way to an island’s shore because of conditions that could damage a propeller, so wet landings are sometimes necessary. A wet landing is made from as close to the beach as possible, where you will have to step out into a foot or so of water. You’ll do this by swinging your feet out over the side of the panga and then stepping into the water. You’ll reverse the procedure when you get back in the boat; sit down facing outwards and swing your feet in. You can go barefoot or wear water-sports sandals for wet landings.
Dry Landing: For a dry landing, the panga will make its way up against a natural dock of lava rocks or a man-made dock. You may wear your shoes or hiking boots. These landings may be a bit tricky because the panga is moving with the waves, and the rocks you step on are often slippery. They usually, however, have intermittent, flat portions. Your guide will offer you a hand as you disembark. When accepting a hand, grasp the guide’s wrist. The guide, in turn, will grasp yours in a “sailor’s grip” or wristlock. Once on the shore, place your feet carefully on the first few feet of rocks, which could be wet, depending on the tide level.
This afternoon, your first excursion is at Black Turtle Cove (Santa Cruz Island).
Santa Cruz Island
Geologically, Santa Cruz is an eroded island, with the oldest formations in the northeast. Human history here started in the twentieth century, when European and American settlers arrived between the two World Wars. The fertile soil of the tropical Moist Zones of the highlands saw the rise of the villages of Bellavista and Santa Rosa. With the settlers, however, came a great number of exotic plants and domestic animals, most of which turned feral and that then created a disastrous impact on the native species of the island. Cerro Colorado (the Red Rock) is a tectonically uplifted hill in which basaltic lava and fossiliferous tuff are layered with volcanic tuffs from the Miocene period. Santa Cruz is the home of the Charles Darwin Research Station (CDRS) and the Galápagos National Park (GNP). Santa Cruz is also the home of the largest lava tunnels in the Galápagos Islands and several reserves where you may encounter Galápagos giant tortoises in the wild.
Black Turtle Cove (Santa Cruz Island)
The cove is located on the north coast of the island and is only accessible by boat. A quiet boat ride through the mangroves may reveal lava herons, sea turtles, spotted rays, and a variety of shark species, including black-finned reef sharks, white-tipped reef sharks, and Galápagos sharks. Landing: None.