Cruise tips you can trust
Criteria: Degree of interest among sophisticated Galapagos visitors.
Unlike whales, dolphins come close to ships to put on entertaining performances. They leap acrobatically out of the water (see photo) along the side of your ship in perfect sync with other dolphins. Or, they ride your ship's bow waves.
The two most-seen species in the Galapagos are the bottlenose and common dolphins.
The best view area is the channel between Fernandina and Isabela Islands.
Although these large aquatic mammals are seldom seen up close on a Galapagos cruise, distance doesn't matter as much when whales propel themselves out of the water (called breaching). See photo.
Whales were prolific in the Galapagos before 19th century whalers nearly hunted them to extinction. Today, recovery is still in progress.
Best islands for viewing: Fernandina and Isabela.
Green Sea Turtle
You can view these ocean-going reptiles from your ship with their heads poking out of the water for air - or you see their entire bodies in shallow bays.
Their shell measures up to a meter (3 feet) in length.
A female green sea turtle crawls ashore at night to dig a pit on a sandy beach to lay an average of 100 eggs. She then covers the eggs with sand and drags herself back into the sea, letting her offspring fend for themselves. When the eggs hatch, the baby turtles make a mad dash to the water to avoid being snatched and eaten by preying birds. Some make it, some don't.
Best islands for viewing the beaches and turtle tracks are Bartolome, Fernandina, Floreana, and Santa Fe.
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