Trip report: Galapagos, the Endemics Cruise (Nov 2008) by Tropical Birding

Guided by Nick Athanas and Andres Vasquez.This was a set departure tour.

You’ve probably already heard people people sing the praises of the Galapagos, but there’s a good reason for that. It truly is a magical place. The first time you land on one of those uninhabited islands covered with breeding seabirds, fearless sea lions, friendly finches, and curious mockingbirds, you feel a sense of awe that is just impossible to explain. Our November trip was a lot of fun, and despite some rough seas on a few days, I know everyone still had a great time. You don’t come here for a big bird list; our total list was 70 or 71 species, and that is high for this trip. However, the 24 endemics still makes it a worthwhile trip even for a hardcore lister. Seeing all the endemic bird species has become much harder recently now that Playa Negra is closed to visitors – but – we still may have succeeded. How can I not be sure? Well, read on and find out.

Our home for the week was the 16-berth Yate Fragata. It’s a small, well-designed yacht with a friendly atmosphere. The top level has a large observation deck, great for pelagic watching during the crossings between islands. The crew was friendly and truly went out of their way to help, and the cook was simply amazing, coming up with delectible dishes in a kitchen that was about the size on an office cubicle.

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