Beyond Darwin's Footsteps

8 Days - M/Y Grace

Set along the equator, some 600 miles off the South American coast of Ecuador is a crown jewel of the natural world. The Galapagos Islands live up to our dreams of a sheltered place far removed from the usual concerns. The skies are typically sunny, and the sea breezes create that perfect air temperature that instantly relaxes the body. The ocean is an ever inviting blue, matched by long sandy beaches of coral white, terracotta red, volcanic black and looking-glass green. There are crystal coves and quite mangrove lagoons.

But what will make your visit here truly exceptional are the many opportunities for close encounters with wildlife. The islands and surrounding waters are quite literally teaming with exotic and curious creatures that have never learned to fear humans. This translates into a series of daily peak experiences including snorkeling with playful sea lions, tracking giant tortoise in the wild and trading stares with unconcerned iguanas. Bird life is abundant, varied and fearless. You may have to give way as a blue footed booby crosses your path, or have the opportunity to observe a Galapagos hawk perched just a few steps away, as a waved albatross launches itself off a cliff on a journey that will encompass thousands of miles.

The environment beneath the ocean surface is extraordinary, with large tropical and cold water fish found swimming together. Pacific green sea turtles, Galapagos penguins and rays are underwater passers-by, while dolphins, whales and whale sharks frequent the archipelago. Young Charles Darwin, fresh from university, visited here in 1835 during the voyage of the HMS Beagle. Darwin maintained that the Galapagos was the source of his ideas and research for On the Origin of Species. Many of the discoveries he came upon are still in evidence, including a volcanic wonderland of sculpted lava flows, giant lava tubes and inviting inlets shaped by eruption and erosion.

The Galapagos seas tend to be calm, making travel by yacht the ideal and only way to experience the full spectrum the islands have to offer. In contrast, only a handful of park visitor sites are accessible by day boats where you will spend most of your day getting to and from your destination. Our live aboard yachts navigate to the next destination at night while you sleep so you wake up refreshed with each day’s island adventure right out your doorstep. You’ll enjoy two landings each full day in the National Park along with snorkeling outings and opportunities for sea kayaking and panga rides, all led by your top notch National Park Guide.

Grace is an authentic classic adventure yacht for those seeking to explore the Galapagos in true style. Her history includes distinguished service in the British Navy during WWII and a pedigree that lays claim to ownership by tycoons, industrialists and royalty. Her comfortable and tastefully designed cabins offer full ensuite bathrooms. There are three levels on which to relax outdoors and under shade while inside, the yacht is fully air conditioned. The main saloon, where your guide will give presentations on the each day’s activities, provides a relaxing environment with a full entertainment center. An onboard boutique carries both necessities and souvenirs. Grace provides fine onboard dining in both her dining room and al fresco on the rear deck. At sunset, happy hour is a highlight atop the sky lounge bar and is often accompanied by leaping dolphins and rays. Did we mention the yacht’s sundeck and sizable Jacuzzi to warm up in after snorkeling?

“ that little world within itself...we seem to be brought somewhat near to that great fact - that mystery of mysteries - the first appearance of new beings on this earth.” - Charles Darwin

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