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Wednesday, 22 May 2019
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ITINERARY A - The Southeastern Island Loop

ITINERARY A - The Southeastern Island Loop
DAY 1
Baltra / Transfer in

You land on the island of Baltra where the U.S. Air Force built a runway during WWII to strengthen
U.S. presence in the Pacific. Upon arrival you are met by our yacht staff and drive to the Itabaca
channel where the Encantada is waiting. We aboard the yacht and settle in your cabin, then enjoy
lunch.


Bachas Beach
Then we start a short cruise to the north side of Santa Cruz Island for a visit to Bachas Beach. The
perfect introduction to the Galapagos, we walk along the beach and you are introduced to the flora
and fauna of the islands. There are Sally Lightfoot crabs, perhaps sea turtles, various wading birds,
pelicans flying, and much more. We return to the boat in our dinghy to enjoy the Galapagos´
sunset. Then, at night, we begin our voyage across the sea towards Plazas Island.


DAY 2
South Plazas Island

Plazas Island is a small island with steep cliffs. We transfer by dingy to the shore to walk along a
well-marked trail, passing cactus and a number of iguanas, both land and sea. In fact this is one
place where the two have hybridized. There is a large sea lion colony here and their barks can be
heard during our walk.


Santa Fe Island
After our visit we return to the boat and cruise to Santa Fe Island, located roughly halfway between
Santa Cruz and San Cristobal islands. There is a small and picturesque bay here where we drop
anchor and then head to shore to walk. It’s a lovely island for exploring, replete with prickly pear
cactus and an endemic land iguana. There are many other species to view including lava lizards,
Galapagos hawks, Audubon Shearwaters, brown pelicans, Galapagos mockingbirds, yellow warblers
and more. We overnight in this protected harbor and enjoy the sunset.


DAY 3
Kicker Rock or Leon Dormido

Morning finds us at San Cristobal Island. Our first stop is Leon Dormido or Kicker Rock. It’s one of
the most notable places in the Galapagos and one where past trips have seen dozens of dolphins.
It’s a fantastic place to snorkel, swimming through a passage between the rocks. Colorful sea stars
dot the walls, hundreds of brilliant fish swim by and we often see rays, sharks and sea turtles. 
After this memorable snorkeling we cruise about 40 minutes to Isla Lobos or “Sea Lion´s Island”. This
is a special place to snorkel and swim with playful young sea lions who seem to get as much delight
from us as we from them. As we snorkel, pelicans and boobies fly overhead.


Interpretation Center
After lunch we continue on to the port town of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. The second largest town
in the islands, it is the provincial capital of Galapagos and the location of one of the two main
airports. Over a hundred years ago this town started out as a penal colony. Nowdays it has a lovely
waterfront where sea lions lounge. Our highlight is the National Park´s Interpretation Center which
provides an excellent overview to the Park’s natural and human history. After our visit here we walk
back to town so you will have time to explore a bit before returning to the boat.


DAY 4
Suarez Point

Wildlife is truly a highlight of Española and the best-known star is the waved albatross. Because of
their large wings they have difficulty taking off and landing, and the island's steep cliffs make the
perfect runways for these large birds. Española's remote location helped make it a unique jewel with
a large number of endemic creatures. Secluded from the other islands, wildlife on Española adapted
to the island's environment and natural resources. The subspecies of Marine iguana from the island
are the only ones that change color during breeding season from a reddish hue to a shade of green.
The Hood Mockingbird is endemic to the island and these birds have no fear of people, sometimes
landing on the shoulders or heads of visitors. As we visit Suarez Point´s landing site, we see all this
plus lava lizards, various finches, blue-footed and masked boobies and more. There is also a
spectacular blowhole where ocean waves are forced into a narrow opening and blow into the sky.


Gardner Bay
From Suarez Point we cruise to Gardner Bay for an afternoon of more exploration. There’s a lovely
beach here as well as good snorkeling. With some luck you will snorkel with sea turtles, sea lions
and naturally, dozens of colorful fishes.


DAY 5
Post office Bay

An overnight cruise takes us to Floreana Island and a stop at the famous Post Office Bay where 18th
century whalers left messages in a wooden barrel as an unofficial mail box.
Baroness Lookout
We pass through the small port town on our way to explore the highlands of the island that has an
intriguing human past. From the interior are views of the coast and landscapes around. 


Cormorant Point
We return to the sea and cruise to Cormorant Point where we go ashore for a wonderful walk along
a sandy beach and visit a lagoon where pink flamingoes along with other shore birds wade and feed.
The beaches are very special here as well. One is a green sand beach, created from olivine crystals
that come from silicates made up of magnesium and iron. Another beach is known as “flour beach”
with powdery white sand.


Champion Islet
We then continue to the small islet called “Champion” which is considered one of the top snorkeling
spots in all the islands. With masks and fins you explore an underwater wonder world and are likely
to be snorkeling with sea turtles, many colorful reef fishes, white-tipped reef sharks and possibly
some Galapagos penguins. Back on board the Encantada we enjoy the sunset and have dinner.
Later in the night the engines start for a cruise north to Santa Cruz Island.


DAY 6
Charles Darwin Station

We wake in Puerto Ayora´s harbor on the island of Santa Cruz, the largest town in Galapagos Islands.
A short walk takes us to the Charles Darwin Research Station and an opportunity to learn more
about conservation work in the Galapagos. This is the home to Lonesome George, the last known
tortoise carrying the gene pool of Floreana Island. This is also the most important tortoise breeding
center on the island from which young tortoises are reintroduced into the wild.
After a relaxed morning in town we transfer across the island by bus, across the Itabaca channel by
ferry, and then another 10 minutes by bus to the airport on Baltra.

 

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