Cruising the Galapagos: Setting Out!

| January 2, 2011 | 2 Comments
This entry is part 2 of 10 in the series Exploring the Galapagos

You may have noticed that things were quiet on the Two Go Round-The-World front in the weeks leading up to Christmas. Following a few challenging (but nonetheless rewarding) months spent pulling together the 2011 brochure lineup for the Gap Adventures product line with my colleagues, Kathryn and I celebrated Christmas by travelling to Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands, delighting in the incredible flora and fauna of one of the most unique places on earth.

Our boat

Our home for the eight days was the Millennium, a recently refurbished 82ft Motor Catamaran registered in Puerto Ayora and flying the Ecuadorian flag. Along with a crew of nine, she sleeps 16 and boasts a range of cabins from standard twins to deluxe suites. Her dining room is large enough to serve her full complement in a single sitting; she’s a comfortable boat. We quickly fell in love with the atmosphere inside the Millennium, a unique kind of silence that is built around the throbbing of her engines and the waves beating in rhythm against her hull outside, an atmosphere fostered by the noise and the rolling view from the portholes, an atmosphere whereby we could more easily escape the orbit of our more ordinary lives and be granted access to thoughts and emotions that may not have arisen under more normal circumstances.

millenium garcia gap adventures Cruising the Galapagos: Setting Out!

The Millennium, a recently refurbished 82 ft Motor Catamaran

To facilitate shore excursions, the Millennium — like all other ships in the islands — boasted a couple of zodiacs (called ‘pangas’ locally) that were used to cruise around ocean features and for snorkeling trips, too. And snorkeling the islands was our favourite part of the trip, by far! 

mauricio garcia gap adventures Cruising the Galapagos: Setting Out!

Level III Naturalist Mauricio Garcia

Our guide

Ensuring that we were in good hands both on board and on land, our guide was a Level III Naturalist by the name of Mauricio Garcia. He was very good at what he does, you can tell because, despite the international complexion of our group, everybody was in agreement: he was very capable and in control. For a tour leader, it’s no easy task to build a consensus like that. A former Marine, he’s been living for the past thirty years in the Galapagos Islands, a resident of Santa Cruz’s largest town, Puerto Ayora. He mentions his service only once during the trip, when we were sitting around one evening following a day’s briefing, comparing Ecuadorian coffee with that from Asia. “I wasn’t in Vietnam for the coffee”, he said. But besides the gravity of that single comment, he’s always jovial quick with an answer, a smile and a kind word. As you’d expect with someone of his pedigree, he runs a tight ship. This is good, because our itinerary for the next eight days is ambitious, at least a couple of landings a day with as many snorkeling excursions. “At least half of the Galapagos is underwater”, Mauricio is fond of saying. And he’s right, in our opinion. In fact, it’s probably the best half.

small group gap adventures Cruising the Galapagos: Setting Out!

We all got on brilliantly

Our group

Our group of thirteen ranged in age from their mid-20s to mid-70s, and was remarkable in the fact that we all got on brilliantly. It consisted of a family from Masachusetts; a young couple from Copenhagen, friends from Peru and Colombia; a retired couple from Australia, and on their honeymoon, a couple from South Africa — and last, but not least, a professor from Portugal!

The trip begins

We’re planning to turn our trip to the Galapagos Island into a series of posts. These multiple blog posts will build upon one another, exploring our trip through the Galapagos over a number of days. We’re hoping that this  post series will—aside from giving readers a reason to come back to our blog—prove to be helpful and useful, and may cover a lot of useful information more thoroughly.

Now that we’ve outlined and given a little insight into our boat, our guide and our group, we’ll visit our itinerary in our next post!

Disclosure: At Two Go Round-The-World, we value the conversation that exists between us and our readers—and the trust on which that relationship is based. Here we’re committed to creating an environment informed by that trust. In the interests of full disclosure, we travelled with Gap Adventures, with whom Daniel works. That being said, his opinions should not be construed as representing those of his employer. For more information on disclosures and relationships, please check our ‘About Us‘ page.

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For nearly ten years now, Daniel of Two Go Round-The-World has explored how travel captures our imagination and engages our deepest emotions. One half of the duo that maintains the widely read Two Go Round-The-World blog, Daniel treats his subjects not only as works of art but also as symbols of the cultural and political forces that inspire them. Check him out on Google+.

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  1. ayngelina says:

    I’m not heading to the galapagos, it’s a months worth of my budget and although everyone says it’s so amazing it will have to wait until I’m making money instead of spending it :)

    Being in Cuenca, you hear a lot of people returning from the islands and they are so impressed with the environmental aspect of it. Having a bit more experience in tourism I’d love to hear your impressions of it.

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