A Matter of Stability
Many questions come to mind when trying to decide which is the best option for traveling in the Galapagos. How many days should I go to get the most out of my Galapagos trip? How will explanations be divided if there are more than two languages spoken within my group? How much attention will I be given? How are activities organized if people in my group want to do different things? But, perhaps one of the most important question is: how can I make my time in my Galapagos cruise more enjoyable? The answer is simple: the stability of your boat can make or break your trip. What the majority of travellers should focus on is just how smooth their journey will be throughout the Galapagos.
Sailing in Tropical Waters
Contrary to what many people think, sailing in tropical waters is not like sailing in the Caribbean or other calm waters. In fact, tropical waters tend to be a little restless rather than being continuously calm. Nevertheless, they are full of life and beauty that often times manage to go beyond the wildest of our dreams. We are talking about snorkelling with sea turtles every day, having a close encounter with a harmless white-tip reef shark or being playfully chased by Galapagos sea lions. Yes, in the Galapagos these are everyday occurrences.
Rocky waters can sometimes translate into sea-sickness. Even though it doesn’t necessarily happen to everyone, it can occur and there are ways to help reduce the symptoms. The first and most important aspect that you can control from the very beginning is the size of the ship you decided to travel aboard. Some travellers are attracted to single-guided boats, often times believing they will get a more intimate and personalized experience, yet it’s almost always quite the opposite. Single- guided boats feel crowded and the one naturalist guide on board has to be shared by the entire group, even if they speak different languages and have different requirements when it comes to attention and activities.
In the Galapagos, the National Park doesn’t allow unattended activates. That means that if someone in the group wants to go kayaking while others want to go snorkelling, one will have to wait for the other group to finish before being able to partake in their desired activity. With this in mind, one also needs to consider the fact that smaller boats often do face challenges when sailing between islands or in the open sea.
The Benefits of an Expedition Vessel
If stability is something that will make your Galapagos journey much more enjoyable, then an expedition vessel is what you are looking for. They are specifically designed to reduce the movement at sea and carry small groups of passengers for a more intimate sailing experience. It is true that the bigger the boat, the more stable it will be on water. However, in the Galapagos, National Park regulations only allow a very limited number of 75,000 travellers to visit the islands per year. This may sound like a lot, but it actually amounts to no less than the number of people that can fit inside a stadium at a sold-out event. In Galapagos, the largest ships are not allowed to have more than a 100 passengers. So, even the biggest boat in the archipelago is considered a small boat. A 90 passenger cruise ship, like the Santa Cruz II, is big enough to have spacious cabins and social areas, it has the advantage of having multiple guides, and it’s small enough to feel intimate and personal, while remaining very stable and sea-worthy.
Smooth Sailing in the Galapagos
When you are investing so much time and resources into a trip, it’s only human to want things to be arranged as perfectly as possible. The decisions you make before your journey can have a great impact on how much you will get out of it. When travelling to the Galapagos’ tropical waters, make sure that choosing the level of stability of your vessel is at the forefront of your decisions. It can make a world of a difference.
Watch this video for more useful tips before travelling to the Galapagos!