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Expedition Journal: Exploring the Marine Marvels of the Galapagos on the Santa Cruz II

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Expedition journal: Snorkeling Bucaneer Cove Galapagos Islands Santa Cruz Cruise

The underwater wonders of Galapagos are consistently present and active throughout the year, inviting visitors from around the world to come and add them to their expedition journal. It doesn’t really matter where in the archipelago one decides to go (or what itinerary you choose), for there will always be something new and ready to impress our guests, as was the case this time!

The Reality Behind to Your Expedition Journal

Everything that transpired occurred while we were sailing the Santa Cruz II Galapagos cruise ship. The most opportunities for our clients to participate in the snorkeling activities offered by the Galapagos are provided by this itinerary. Tuesday and Wednesday offer two snorkeling opportunities each, and Thursday may offer two more if the excursion leader chooses. This adds up to six possible snorkeling trips for a five-day trip to the Galapagos! But don’t worry, there are lots of other activities available when you travel in the Galapagos on a multi-guided yacht, so snorkeling is not required!  

Additionally, it’s enjoyable to have several chances to swim in the sea because of the heat this time of year! We were equally thrilled and excited to announce that we had some excellent snorkeling experiences during our water-based trips because we had the opportunity to swim with some fantastic and incredibly unexpected guests in addition to the typical species of fish we frequently meet!  

The Conventional Theory

Expedition journal tip: Wetsuits are a great option for keeping you warm and will actually provide you with a lot of buoyancy.
Expedition journal tip: Wetsuits are a great option for keeping you warm and will actually provide you with a lot of buoyancy.

The warmer temperature of the water during the hot season is a natural phenomenon that is always welcome by swimmers, snorkelers, and divers. Simply put: it’s less cumbersome to swim and experience Galapagos without all those extra layers that often come with using a wetsuit.

Swimmers, snorkelers, and divers always appreciate the natural phenomenon of the water being warmer during the hot season. Swimming and exploring the Galapagos without the extra layers that come with wearing a wetsuit is less taxing.  

Even though we were in the middle of the summer, we were nevertheless able to receive a delightful surprise on this particular occasion: several large and unexpected sightings of the underwater wonders of the Galapagos, which is quite an uncommon sight to observe at this time of year!

The Marine Marvels of the Galapagos

Sea animals of the Galapagos are just as marvelous as those in the Islands! Get ready for an adventure underwater!

Start your Galapagos vacation today!

 

A few quite large manta rays were the first surprise group of creatures we came across. The first one we spotted was quite near to us—it must have been about 9 feet (~3 meters) long from fin to fin!  

Expedition journal: A close encounter with a manta ray in Galapagos.
Expedition journal: A close encounter with a manta ray in Galapagos.

Another ray appeared immediately after the first, and while it was all black, we assumed it belonged to the same species. We all boarded the panga feeling a little let down because we weren’t as fortunate to see much underwater the next day. However, the Galapagos Islands never let me down! A bunch of dolphins were surprisingly playing with the panga and entertaining us all with a great display just as we were ready to head back and continue with this expedition journal!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Towards the end of this tour, we saw the third and most fantastic specimen—a shark. Some claimed it was only a black-tip shark, while others conjectured that it might have been a larger, more solitary Galapagos shark species. Swimming with all these magnificent creatures in some of the deeper parts of the Galapagos, regardless of the species, was incredible.  

Our guests often have a chance to swim with sharks and add this experience to their expedition journal.
Our guests often have a chance to swim with sharks and add this experience to their expedition journal.

Another Day of Aquatic Adventures at Punta Vicente Roca

The day starts with a leisurely cruise down the coast, where visitors enjoy the pleasant sights while comfortably sitting aboard the panga. The Santa Cruz II also visits Punta Vicente Roca. This was a great time to watch a variety of bird species swooping over the skies; sometimes, we see more marine life than others. As a welcome diversion from the more active trips we provide across the Enchanted Islands, it’s always good to have an alternative that lets our visitors see abundant wildlife without requiring them to strain themselves.  

Immerse Yourself in the Marine World

We spotted a lot of marine life today, but one of the most common was the elusive Galapagos Fur Seal. It was easy to find them lounging on the rocks that dot the shore.  

Expedition journal: A group of Galapagos fur seal pups playing and basking under the sun.
Expedition journal: A group of Galapagos fur seal pups playing and basking under the sun.

We got lucky and found many of them at one specific location. Even though many adults were lounging on the upper ground, the children were the real stars. They were all playing wildly on the rocks along the water’s edge. Since these “surface-level” underwater wonders of the Galapagos were so out in the open, we could approach quite near them. The resulting photographs are just breathtaking. Being so near them, we felt like we were also a part of their game!  

Expedition journal: Fur seal pups love basking under the sun, while our guests enjoy the wonderful scenery.
Expedition journal: Fur seal pups love basking under the sun, while our guests enjoy the wonderful scenery.

Under the surface of the water

Our second adventure of the day was snorkeling in open water, where we saw lots of action beneath the surface once more, following the inflatable pangas trip. Our guides and guests were equally thrilled to see more exotic visitors and large schools of fish. What’s more? We had the opportunity to swim with Galapagos penguins who were fishing in small groups, in addition to just seeing them! Along the shallow seas were also a flightless cormorant and roughly forty green sea turtles—yes, forty! Being thus close to so many of the Galapagos underwater treasures was an incredible and humble experience! The highlight of our snorkeling trip was witnessing yet another enormous manta ray, which dazzled us with its unique underwater flying for a brief but unforgettable moment.

Updated:June 5, 2024

Published:April 25, 2018

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