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We just returned from what I would describe as our most interesting and exhilerating cruise we have ever been on. Walking along the trails on the Galapagos Islands and having albatrosses, boobies, iguanas and sea lions right next to you, as if humans are the most trusted creatures they have ever encountered, is an experience we will never forget.
I have tried to share some of this on our website by means of lots of pictures and descriptions of the cruise on the Celebrity Xpedition. If any of you are interested go to:
I haven't finished looking through your photos, but am taking a break to say that I will. Your recap is EXCELLENT, and brings back many memories. What time of year did you go? It looks a lot like what I saw in early December, 2006 - size of sea lion pups vs. adults in particular.
We went end of April and found that the weather was just right. The landings take place in the morning and late afternoon. So the middle of the day when it gets warmer, is spent on board with lectures, relaxing, etc. while the ship goes on to the next island.
The water temperatures were ok, not warm but good enough for me to go swimming without a wetsuit at one of the beaches. For the snorkeling trips we used wetsuits that the ship provides along with the fins and goggles.
There was a fairly strong current from the north-west and in the open waters it was a bit murky. But that brings along the nutrients the fish need, I guess.
I had fun playing with the sea lions. They would come up close, dart all around me as I swirled my arm in circles. One brushed my arm but I never felt threatened.
Did you see the pictures of the Whale Shark. The gal who dove down to take them was a great swimmer (down about thirty feet, free diving). The pictures are in Part 2 of our web site.
I saw some Galapagos sharks - didn't realize they were known to be aggressive (thankfully.) The most exciting aquatic event for us was watching an Orca breach within ten feet of our panga, for ten minutes. We were on our way back from a snorkeling trip (where we swam with penguins, among other creatures) and the guide saw a large fin in the distance, away from our ship. We followed the fin, and discovered it was an Orca - the driver was able to anticipate where he (she?) was going to jump up, and we were very close. It was SO exciting.
I have heard the best time of year in the Galapagos is when seasons are changing - Oct/Nov and Mar/Apr. I can certainly vouch for our time - at the beginning of Dec.
Yes, now I am aware how lucky most of us were to see the Whale Shark. The naturalists were beyond themselves to see this huge fish. One, an excellent free-style diver, was down there with the fish a couple times as it slowly wandered about. Afterwards he told everyone, who would listen, what a great experience that was for him.
So, for me to see it's shadow, for my wife to see the fish from above, and for our great diving friend. Jo, to catch these pictures while going down thirty or so feet, was unique and we are glad she shared this moment.
I zoomed in on the head of the Whale Shark and noticed how tiny the eyes are compared with the rest of the body. It also had a pilot fish swimming right along.
I hope the picture here will come through.
I was just in Atlanta at a conference and took a time out to visit their new aquarium. They have a whale shark on exhibit (perhaps the only aquarium to do so?)
If you're ever in Atlanta, you might want to stop by to trigger your memory, and the awe you felt seeing one in the wild.
We saw an Orca breeching within ten feet of our panga for a ten to fifteen minute period on our Galapagos trip this past December. WOW. How can I explain the excitement to be near such an animal? I cannot explain, but I can imagine how YOU felt when you were with the whale shark.
Kind of OT, but the Whale Sharks in the Atlanta Aquarium are a big news thing right now. We've had two die recently lots of controvery and sadness.
Your pictures are gorgeous! Hopefully one day I will get to do the same. I've wanted to visit the Galapagos since I was about 12 years old.
Next Cruise: RCCL Grandeur of the Seas - 5/20/10
RCCL Navigator of the Seas - 12/14/09 - Freedom of the Seas - 5/24/09 - Mariner of the Seas - 5/29/05 - Navigator of the Seas - 5/31/03 - Adventure of the Seas - 6/16/02 - Explorer of the Seas -5/26/01
Cunard Queen Mary 2 - 8/3/07 - Silja Symphony 7/06 - Star Princess - 5/28/04
We are planning to visit Galapagos in February. Your experience with Galapagos cruises? Any recommendations for cruise ship companies?
In 2011 we took the 11 night cruise tour with days in Quito before and after the 7 night cuise. Just excellent. I know the cruises have now been split into 2 alternating routes, but I would definitely recommend Celebrity.
Silversea is also scheduled to enter the Galapagos market with a newly refurbished ship in either late 2013 or 2014. We enjoy their other exploration ship, the Silver Explorer. I imagine it will be a top notch experience as well.
Last edited by Mike2131; November 10th, 2012 at 11:29 AM.