Exploring the Galápagos Islands on the Evolution

600 miles west of mainland Ecuador, The Galápagos Islands are home to many species of wildlife that never learned to fear humans.

We landed on San Cristobal Island and were met by the crew of the M/V Evolution, operated by Quasar. We have a Saturday to Saturday cruise. Onboard we met more crew members, learned the rules of the Galápagos National Park, participated in a safety drill, found our cabin, and had lunch.

M/V Evolution

Our first cruise was to Cerro Brujo Beach on the island of San Cristóbal. After anchoring, we loaded into the pangas and headed towards the beach. The Evolution has accommodations for 32 guests, but this week they are hosting only 17. Two pangas can handle all guests. We have been divided into two groups; albatross and boobies. We are in the albatross group.

Our first nature walk in The Galápagos was not disappointing. We saw sea lions, blue footed boobies, marine iguanas, sea turtles, and many other bird species. We stayed on the beach to nearly sunset, then climbed back in the pangas for the short ride back to the Evolution.

Blue-footed boobie.
Tucker with a marine iguana.

We enjoyed a dinner of amberjack and met more of our fellow guests.

Overnight we motored from San Cristobol to South Plaza Island where we did a morning nature walk. South Plaza is a small island, 3/4 mile long, off the east coast of Santa Cruz. It was very windy, and cloudy, so at times it felt cool. The la nina is causing this year to be cooler than average.

National Park Of The Galápagos marker.

Seeing the colorful crabs, marine and land iguanas and watching very new baby sea lions nursing took our minds off the cool temps, plus I was wearing my tried and true Helly Hansen gear. The Galápagos Land Iguanas demonstrated their technique for eating prickly pear cactus fruit.

A female land iguana eats a prickly pear. She first rolled it around to remove the spines.
The iguana carries off the prickly pear.
Prickly pear cactus.
Juvenile swallow-tail gull.
Galápagos carpet weed.
Land iguana on the trail.
Land iguana in his mating colors.
Swallow-tail gull.

The nature walk got us warmed up, just in time to take our first plunge into the 68 F water, our next activity. There is an opportunity to snorkel every day and we plan to do just that. Today we snorkeled at Punta Carrion.

We brought our own wetsuits, but the Evolution also carries enough for everyone. This was my first experience at snorkeling with a wetsuit, having only snorkeled in warm tropical waters before. I was a bit apprehensive, but it went well. A shout out to my neighbor Janet who gave me her wetsuit, mask and snorkel. They were perfect, and I wasn’t cold at all. Our first day of snorkeling ended in a shallow sandy area where over a dozen white-tip reef sharks were loitering. It was great.

After lunch we motored to Santa Cruz Island for another beach walk on Mosquera Island Beach.

Sally light foot crab

Here we saw quite a few baby sea lions and dozens of Sally light foot crabs. Once again we stayed on the beach until almost sunset, then boarded our panga and returned to the Evolution.

Interaction with a sea lion pup.
Sea lion pup.
Whale bones.
Boarding a panga to return to the Evolution.
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3 Responses to Exploring the Galápagos Islands on the Evolution

  1. james herlinger says:

    Too Cool….awesome pics! Thanks for letting me see.

    Sent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy smartphone

  2. Teresa Favazza says:

    Hey, Tucker looks right at home on the Evolution
    Love the cute baby seals and colorful Sally Light Foot crabs (hope they are not eaten)
    Pics are stellar as always!!

  3. augie's says:

    Good thing you have that wet suit to snorkel in 68 degree water. Very interesting-looking animals. Have fun and enjoy the days and nights of the Iguana!

    Sent from my iPad

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