Category Archives: Galapagos Islands

Lindblad Galapagos Cruise, Endeavour Wednesday Menus

 

Galapagos cruise food

The lunch highlight today on the Lindblad’s National Geographic Endeavour is the traditional Spanish paella. In case you didn’t see the photo before, or want to be reminded how good this classic dish is:

food Lindblad paella-1
Paella is one of the highlights of every Endeavour cruise

 

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Wednesday Dinner0001

 Lindblad  Endeavour Galapagos Cruise Links

The Galapagos Experience                                     Endeavour Dining
Galapagos Adventure Upcoming                          Sustainable Dining Policy
How Darwin Saved The Galapagos                       Saturday Dining Menus
Galapagos Photo Tips                                                Sunday Dining Menus
What To Pack For Cruise                                          Monday Dining Menus
Getting to Guayaquil                                                  Tuesday Dining Menus
Las Bachas Shore Landing                                       Wednesday Dining Menus
North Seymour Shore Landing                              Thursday Dining Menus
Fernandina & Isabela Islands                                Friday Finale Menus
Urbina Bay Shore Landing                                       Endeavour Recipes
Life Aboard The Endeavour
More About Life On Board
Puerto Egas Shore Landing
Endeavour’s Floating SPA
Meeting One of World’s Rarest Animals
Puerto Ayoro Walking Tour
Santa Cruz Highlands Tour
Hunting Tortoises in the Santa Cruz Highlands
San Cristobal, Endeavour’s final stop

Lindblad National Geographic Endeavour Tuesday Menus

 

Galapagos cruise food

The Lindblad National Geographic Endeavour’s Ecuadorian lunch buffet is perhaps the most colorful and flavorful of all the buffets. If you want to photograph the different dishes, be the first in line. And shoot quickly because many of the first at lunch are ready for the meal to be a feeding frenzy.  (The dinner crowd is more mellow.)

One of lunch items, mote pillo, is unusual and deserves an explanation: Mote is the Ecuadorian word for hominy, made from white corn kernels. commonly found throughout the Andes, where hominy is a staple. Mote pillo is said to have originated in Andean city of Cuenca, whose city center is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Trust site due to its many historical buildings. Mote pillo by itself can be served for breakfast or, for here at this lunch, as a side dish.

   Roast suckling pig  Wahoo covered with coconut sauce
Roast suckling pig; steamed wahoo in coconut sauce.

 Roast suckling pig is a common offering in the Andean highlands of Ecuador. The crackling, (the crisp and tasty roasted skin) is highly prized by Ecuadorians and tourists. It is one of the first things to disappear. Oh, so good!

Wahoo is a hard-fighting fish that every serious salt water angler wants to find and then dine on. Today is wahoo day, served at both lunch and dinner. Do it! The Endeavour chefs do a fine job.

 
 Lindblad National Geographic Endeavour Tuesday Lunch Menu

Lindblad National Geographic Endeavour Tuesday Dinner Menu

 Lindblad Endeavour Galapagos Cruise Links

The Galapagos Experience                                         Endeavour Dining
Galapagos Adventure Upcoming                              Sustainable Dining Policy
How Darwin Saved The Galapagos                          Saturday Dining Menus
Galapagos Photo Tips                                                   Sunday Dining Menus
What To Pack For Cruise                                             Monday Dining Menus
Getting to Guayaquil                                                     Tuesday Dining Menus
Las Bachas Shore Landing                                          Wednesday Dining Menus
North Seymour Shore Landing                                  Thursday Dining Menus
Fernandina & Isabela Islands                                   Friday Finale Menus
Urbina Bay Shore Landing                                          Endeavour Recipes
Life Aboard The Endeavour
More About Life On Board
Puerto Egas Shore Landing
Endeavour’s Floating SPA
Meeting One of World’s Rarest Animals
Puerto Ayoro Walking Tour
Santa Cruz Highlands Tour
Hunting Tortoises in the Santa Cruz Highlands
San Cristobal, Endeavour’s final stop

Lindblad National Geographic Endeavour Monday Menus

Galapagos cruise food

This was one of my favorite lunches on the Lindblad National Geographic Endeavour because of the Brazilian Xim Xim soup and the pasta with a trio of sauces.  An unexpected surprise were the cassava fries. Cassava–also called yuca, mogo, or manioc—makes a wonderful bread but we had no idea it could be turned into fries, too.  One fry goes a long way, as this photo demonstrates:

Lindblad cassava fries-1Cassava fries for Monday’s lunch.

Lindblad National Geographic Endeavour Monday Lunch Menu

Lindblad National Geographic Endeavour Monday Dinner Menu

Lindblad Endeavour Galapagos Cruise Links

The Galapagos Experience                             Endeavour Dining
Galapagos Adventure Upcoming                            Sustainable Dining Policy
How Darwin Saved The Galapagos                        Saturday Dining Menus
Galapagos Photo Tips                                                 Sunday Dining Menus
What To Pack For Cruise                                          Monday Dining Menus
Getting to Guayaquil                                                   Tuesday Dining Menus
Las Bachas Shore Landing                                       Wednesday Dining Menus
North Seymour Shore Landing                               Thursday Dining Menus
Fernandina & Isabela Islands                                 Friday Finale Menus
Urbina Bay Shore Landing                                        Endeavour Recipes
Life Aboard The Endeavour
More About Life On Board
Puerto Egas Shore Landing
Endeavour’s Floating SPA
Meeting One of World’s Rarest Animals
Puerto Ayoro Walking Tour
Santa Cruz Highlands Tour
Hunting Tortoises in the Santa Cruz Highlands
San Cristobal, Endeavour’s final stop

Lindblad Expeditions Endeavour Dining Sunday Menus

Galapagos Cruise Food

The Monday Peruvian lunch buffet illustrates how Lindblad’s National Geographic Endeavour highlights local cuisine.  Notice the grilled chicken sandwich with roasted onions for those who aren’t willing to be adventurous.

Soups are offered at every meal, those Sunday’s menus don’t reflect it.  Go for the fish soup anytime it’s offered. Obviously, you can’t taste the food beforehand but you can try some of the dishes, with the recipes that will be coming up at the end of our journey.

Lindblad National Geographic Endeavour Sunday Lunch Menu

Lindblad National Geographic Endeavour Sunday Dinner Menu

Lindblad Endeavour Galapagos Cruise Links

The Galapagos Experience                             Endeavour Dining
Galapagos Adventure Upcoming                               Sustainable Dining Policy
How Darwin Saved The Galapagos                            Saturday Dining Menus
Galapagos Photo Tips                                                     Sunday Dining Menus
What To Pack For Cruise                                               Monday Dining Menus
Getting to Guayaquil                                                       Tuesday Dining Menus
Las Bachas Shore Landing                                            Wednesday Dining Menus
North Seymour Shore Landing                                   Thursday Dining Menus
Fernandina & Isabela Islands                                     Friday Finale Menus
Urbina Bay Shore Landing                                            Endeavour Recipes
Life Aboard The Endeavour
More About Life On Board
Puerto Egas Shore Landing
Endeavour’s Floating SPA
Meeting One of World’s Rarest Animals
Puerto Ayoro Walking Tour
Santa Cruz Highlands Tour
Hunting Tortoises in the Santa Cruz Highlands
San Cristobal, Endeavour’s final stop

Lindblad National Geographic Endeavour Saturday Menus

Galapagos cruise food

These are the welcome aboard menus for passengers  on their first day of their Galapagos cruise on Lindblad’s National Geographic Endeavour.

When it comes to cruise ship food, a critic’s likes and dislikes can unfairly bias a dining review. My own admitted prejudices: I don’t like turnips. Though I recently had a turnip puree with something else that is slowly winning me over. 

To me, the fairest way to avoid unfair bias is to provide the menus for the entire cruise and let each person make their own decisions about the selections. Breakfast and lunch normally are buffets; dinner may be a buffet or a sit-down meal, depending on the afternoon activities.

Cheesecake is my great weakness but the chocolate cheesecake at dinner is fine, perfect for following the sea bass, my favorite of the dinner entrees.

Lindblad National Geographic Endeavour Saturday Lunch Menu

Lindblad National Geographic Endeavour Saturday Dinner Menu

Lindblad Endeavour Galapagos Cruise Links

The Galapagos Experience                            Endeavour Dining
Galapagos Adventure Upcoming                                Sustainable Dining Policy
How Darwin Saved The Galapagos                             Saturday Dining Menus
Galapagos Photo Tips                                                      Sunday Dining Menus
What To Pack For Cruise                                                Monday Dining Menus
Getting to Guayaquil                                                        Tuesday Dining Menus
Las Bachas Shore Landing                                             Wednesday Dining Menus
North Seymour Shore Landing                                    Thursday Dining Menus
Fernandina & Isabela Islands                                      Friday Finale Menus
Urbina Bay Shore Landing                                             Endeavour Recipes
Life Aboard The Endeavour
More About Life On Board
Puerto Egas Shore Landing
Endeavour’s Floating SPA
Meeting One of World’s Rarest Animals
Puerto Ayoro Walking Tour
Santa Cruz Highlands Tour
Hunting Tortoises in the Santa Cruz Highlands
San Cristobal, Endeavour’s final stop

Dining on the Lindblad Endeavour–Cruise Review


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               Classic Spanish paella with shellfish but no shrimp

Sustainability guides the dining choices—yum yum!

Lindblad Expeditions takes its dedication to conservation seriously, extending it even to the Endeavour’s dining room. Although seafood is a staple on the ship’s menus, you’ll never find a shrimp cocktail, fried shrimp or shrimp of any sort on the ship. Lindblad banned shrimp from its kitchens more than a decade ago, in the summer of 2001 as part of its sustainable dining program to help preserve fish stocks world-wide.

Lindblad says it could not find any shrimp suppliers who could prove that their shrimp harvesting methods did not damage the marine environment. One of the serious problem shrimp trawlers create is the “bycatch” of unwanted fish species that end up being killed and disposed of. In addition, in some areas the trawlers may sweep the same section of sea bottom several times a year, which leaves no time for re-growth or recovery of the marine habitat.

Shrimp farming also has serious negative impact because shrimp growers have made their pond water poisonous due to the large amounts of artificial feed, pesticides, chemical additives and antibiotics used for the highest possible production rate. Typically, the ponds are located in coastal areas to provide easy access to new fresh water sources to refill them. Unfortunately, instead of reducing pressure on overharvesting, shrimp aquaculture’s toxic effluent is blamed for reducing local shrimp and fish populations in some regions

When it comes to the fish served on board the Endeavour and other Lindblad ships, they are species considered not to be over-fished or caught by environmentally destructive practices. Lindblad Expeditions is not being extremist in its sustainability approach. According to Ocean Wise, a Canadian non-profit education and conservation association, an estimated 90-percent of all large, predatory fish have disappeared from the world’s oceans and it states that one recent scientific study predicts a world-wide fisheries collapse by the year 2048. Obviously, this is a topic that impacts all of us and one we all should be concerned about.

Placing the serious aspects of the Lindblad Endeavour’s menu aside, as you’ll see from the accompanying photos and the week’s menus on accompanying pages, no one starves and there is a serious emphasis flavorful food, although the preparations are not always ones we have every day or perhaps ever have had before. But trying new foods always has been an essential part of travel. The menu emphasizes Ecuadorian cuisine, as you would expect.

Here are some sample signs that are posted to explain unfamiliar dishes:

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Here’s how seriously Lindblad Expeditions takes its commitment to cater to the diverse tastes of its passengers. The photo at the top of this post shows paella served once a week at lunch that definitely would not suit vegetarians. So, a vegetarian paella is served at the same time.

This kind of catering is routine on large cruise ships. But the Endeavour carries fewer than100 passengers. Here is a photo of the vegetarian paella served at the same lunch.

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Vegetarian paella, a rice dish from Valencia, Spain

See for yourself what the dining on the Lindblad National Geographic Endeavor is like. You won’t be disappointed, I promise you. If I didn’t like it, I would tell you. But I do wish there was just one time during the week for plain old hamburgers with buns and all the trimmings. But that may be just me.

Lindblad Endeavour Galapagos Cruise Links

The Galapagos Experience                              Endeavour Dining
Galapagos Adventure Upcoming                                  Sustainable Dining Policy
How Darwin Saved The Galapagos                               Saturday Dining Menus
Galapagos Photo Tips                                                        Sunday Dining Menus
What To Pack For Cruise                                                  Monday Dining Menus
Getting to Guayaquil                                                          Tuesday Dining Menus
Las Bachas Shore Landing                                               Wednesday Dining Menus
North Seymour Shore Landing                                      Thursday Dining Menus
Fernandina & Isabela Islands                                        Friday Finale Menus
Urbina Bay Shore Landing                                               Endeavour Recipes
Life Aboard The Endeavour
More About Life On Board
Puerto Egas Shore Landing
Endeavour’s Floating SPA
Meeting One of World’s Rarest Animals
Puerto Ayoro Walking Tour
Santa Cruz Highlands Tour
Hunting Tortoises in the Santa Cruz Highlands
San Cristobal, Endeavour’s final stop

Lindblad Endeavour’s Floating SPA

Lindblad Floating Spa-1

by Linda O’Keefe

A motional massage

One thing I don’t expect to find onboard Lindblad’s National Geographic Endeavour is a wellness specialist as well as a mini spa. Alexandra Cueva, the wellness specialist for our voyage, puts in a long day, beginning around 6:30 a.m. with a yoga, stretching or water aerobics class just before breakfast. The rest of the day she is on call for paid spa services such as massage, reflexology and other spa treatments.

One service on the spa menu especially catches my eye: a “floating massage.” Technically, all massages given aboard the Endeavour are floating but this offering is something special. One of the Endeavour’s old glass bottomed boats has been redesigned to provide a viewing porthole of the sea bottom directly under the massage table’s head cradle.  The idea is to have a massage while watching sea life swim underneath the boat.  Instead of a massage on the beach, it’s a great rub on an ocean tub.

Scheduling any kind of spa treatment on the Endeavour is difficult because it usually means having to give up something: a shore landing, snorkeling or kayaking. Also, the opportunities for a floating massage are limited to certain locations where sea conditions are calm enough that Alexandra can stay on her feet and the massagee doesn’t slide off the table.

While kayaking Tim and I had seen the floating spa bouncing around in Tagus Cove where a Zodiac tried to keep it from crashing on shore. The waves and current were much too strong for any sort of stability. The Zodiac with its rubber hull acted like a seaborne bumper car to keep the spa boat away from land but there was no way the Zodiac could do it gently. In fact, we heard lots of crashing aboard the spa boat as we paddled pass but no shouts of alarm. Can’t imagine how Alexandra managed to stay on her feet that day.

Lindblad Floating Spa-2  Lindblad Floating Spa-3

Remembering that spectacle, I wonder how real this floating massage is and how much of it is a gimmick. So the night before my scheduled tub rub when I pick up a robe and slippers from Alexandra, I ask her what I should wear the next day with the robe.  Her response is quick and firm, “Nothing. This is a professional massage.”

The next morning, clad only in my spa robe and slippers, I wait at the reception area for Alexandra to fetch me.  I know in the back of my mind the glass bottom boat is away from the ship but for some reason it hasn’t yet occurred to me I’ll need to ride in a Zodiac to reach it. Just normally getting into a Zodiac when the waves bob it up and down is not the easiest maneuver even in normal attire. With a robe and nothing underneath, it’s really tricky. Fortunately, I make it on and off without any wardrobe malfunctions.

I take the Zodiac about half a mile from the ship to find the spa boat anchored in an isolated cove near shore. In the cloudy “garua” weather, the cliffs and a small island rock formation close by is both mystical and relaxing. After disembarking the Zodiac trip, I climb onboard the “floating massage” table.

As I lay face down and Alexandra works wonders on my back, the view through the three-foot wide glass circle is disappointing.  There isn’t a great view due to the reflections of the boat and sky. I spot only a few fish that wander by.

Despite the lack of underwater activity, I love this experience. The sound of the waves drumming the boat is more soothing than any new age music . Inhaling the salty sea air is natural aromatherapy. Occasionally the relaxation is broken as the wind sweeps the sheet off my body and there’s a quick scramble to grab it back.

Lindblad Floating Spa-4

After my massage and I wait for the Zodiac to return, Alexandra points out a large sea turtle swimming on the surface with several other turtles surrounding it. As the turtles approach our boat, I realize something seems rather odd about what I thought was a single large turtle.

I ask Alexandra , “Are those two turtles–not just one?”

“Yes,” she replies with a sly grin on her face.

I wonder aloud, “Are they doing what I think they’re doing?”

Her smiling face answers my question before she answers “Yes” and bursts into laughter. She confesses she has been watching them for a while. And we continue to watch the turtles float obliviously toward the boat.

My already R-rated adventure pushes the limit as the two mating turtles drift closer and closer to the boat. Eventually they bump into us, separate, swim away. At this point, Alexandra and I are close to hysteria laughing at them. (Though they probably don’t understand our idea of humor.)

Alexandra and I are still laughing when the Zodiac arrives to carry us both back to the Endeavour. All in all, this is an experience I won’t soon forget.

Lindblad Endeavour Galapagos Cruise Links 

The Galapagos Experience                               Endeavour Dining Galapagos Adventure Upcoming                                    Sustainable Dining Policy
How Darwin Saved The Galapagos                                 Saturday Dining Menus
Galapagos Photo Tips                                                          Sunday Dining Menus
What To Pack For Cruise                                                    Monday Dining Menus
Getting to Guayaquil                                                            Tuesday Dining Menus
Las Bachas Shore Landing                                                 Wednesday Dining Menus
North Seymour Shore Landing                                         Thursday Dining Menus
Fernandina & Isabela Islands                                           Friday Finale Menus
Urbina Bay Shore Landing                                                  Endeavour Recipes
Life Aboard The Endeavour
More About Life On Board
Puerto Egas Shore Landing
Endeavour’s Floating SPA
Meeting One of World’s Rarest Animals
Puerto Ayoro Walking Tour
Santa Cruz Highlands Tour
Hunting Tortoises in the Santa Cruz Highlands
San Cristobal, Endeavour’s final stop

 

 

Lindblad Endeavour Arrives at Puerto Egas

Puerto Egas beach animals-1

One perfect afternoon at Puerto Egas, where wildlife offer warm welcome

Everyone who takes a Galapagos cruise usually has a favorite shore landing. Mine comes unexpectedly almost midway through the trip when Lindblad’s National Geographic Endeavour, at a place called Puerto Egas on Isla Santiago (also known as James Island and Isla San Salvador). On our afternoon stop there, everything comes together: the sunlight is gorgeous, we encounter a good variety of birds and mammals and also witness lots of lively animal interaction, including a large bellowing male Galapagos fur seal. Best of all, this is one of the most leisurely walks, without the usual and constant push to keep moving.

Ironically, when Lindblad’s National Geographic Endeavour arrives and anchors off Isla Santiago, there is no hint this will be a special afternoon. Instead, once our Zodiac lands on a narrow rocky beach, the scenery is almost depressing. A dilapidated house sits on a small cliff above where we stand. Then, after we exit the beach and get a better view of the old deserted homestead and its empty, fenced-in fields, the spot seems even more dismal.

galapagos santiago puerto egas mountain fence-1  galapagos santiago puerto egas old road-1
Jarring reminders of the humans who once lived here

There may be 30,000 people living in the Galapagos, but this is the first evidence of human occupation we’ve seen since sailing from Baltra on Saturday morning. This unexpected detritus of human intrusion is an irritating reminder of past efforts to harvest salt here, first between 1928 and 1930, then much later in 1964. Both attempts invariably caused environmental damage by using native and endemic trees for firewood and also introducing new plants and animals. The Puerto Egas name, in fact, refers to the last salt company operation, run by Hector Egas whose venture failed when the price of salt in South America became so cheap that operating in the Galapagos was impractical.

Thankfully, we quickly leave the settlement area and make the short walk across the island’s narrow point to the other side, which is surprisingly different. It’s long black lava coastline that seems to extend endlessly along James Bay, where Charles Darwin’s ship anchored and he explored the interior of Santiago Island. The shore, comprised of an old lava flow that poured into the ocean, has many large inlets and tidal pools created by the erosive force of the rough wave action. One of these inlets, a vertical chute where the water rises and ebbs as waves regularly crash against the rock, carries the appropriate if undignified name of “Darwin’s toilet.”

This lava shoreline is a favorite haunt of fur seals, the smallest of the pinnipeds and creatures we really haven’t encountered closely before. Endemic to the Galápagos Islands, an estimated 40,000 fur seals are spread throughout the islands, apparently much smaller than just a few decades ago. Scientists say the fur seal population was reduced significantly in the 1980s due to the effects of El Nino, which also reduced the local fish populations.

The best known place to see fur seals is Gruta de las Focas, which has a natural bridge above the inlets where fur seals are normally found. They’re present today because, thankfully for us, Galápagos fur seals are the most land-based of all the fur seals, spending at least 30% of their time out of the water. Fortunately, they also do most of their fishing at night since they prefer to spend as many days as possible warming themselves on the lava rocks and only occasionally sunbathing on sandy beaches.

Galapagos Islands SantiagoPuerto Egas American oyster catcher-1American oyster catchers were common place at Puerto Egas

Hopefully, they will be as prevalent here and throughout the Galapagos in coming years since the current climate change seems to have prompted an ambitious group of Galapagos fur seals to look for better fishing waters in Peru. No one is sure why, perhaps because there are more fish there. This migration happened in 2010 when a group of Galapagos fur seals traveled 900 miles (1,500 km) to the northern waters of Peru and established a colony there, the first recorded instance of Galapagos seals migrating from their homeland. Rising water temperatures have been credited as the motivation but the water still averages warmer in the Galapagos.  Water temperatures off northern Peru have increased from 62F (17C) to 73F (23C) in the past 10 years; Galapagos water temps average 77F (25C). It’s speculated more such colonies might be established in northern Peru. Still think it’s due to better fish populations in Peru and not the water temperature.

Darwin paid scant attention to the fur seals during his visit, perhaps because fur hunters had almost hunted the animals to extinction. On this day fur seals are prominent at Puerto Egas, along with Sally Lightfoot crabs, marine iguanas, American oyster catchers, a Galapagos hawk and more. Two fur seals are in a contest with a sea lion to dislodge the sea lion from its flat rock perch just above the waves. The sea lion ignores the fur seals’ loud noises and aggressive threats, holding its head high with an expression we interpret to mean something like “Well, here goes the neighborhood!”

Galapagos Islands Santiago Puerto Egas lava gull-1Lava gull stalking the Puerto Egas tidal pools

The matter is semi-resolved when one of the fur seals jumps on an adjoining rock and gradually nudges its way into sharing part of the platform. The sea lion refuses to retreat and both animals end up appearing to have reached a compromise for the space. The second fur seal stays in the water, preferring to swim around and keep out of the way. Once the action subsides, we wander away, careful not to trip over or step on the marine iguanas littering the craggy lava surface like washed-up seaweed.

As we walk the shoreline in the direction of the ship, it’s obvious the Puerto Egas tidal pools are attracting the largest variety of birds we’ve ever seen in one location. Even several Darwin finches land in the trees bordering the shoreline only a few yards behind the beach. I lag behind the others for the unusually prime photo ops. It’s what photographers call the “golden” or “magic” hour, very close to sunset, and the colors are amazing. This one afternoon almost makes up for the  cloudy days we’ve had to work around most of the trip.

When I finish photographing the birds in the tidal pools, I catch up with my group and see they are watching a Galapagos hawk dine on a sizable marine iguana. We are perhaps 20 yards from the hawk, which is well aware of our presence but continues to feed while keeping an obvious watch on us. We’ve seen numerous marine iguanas along the coast, more than in most places, and it’s not surprising there would be a natural death the hawk would take advantage of. The hawk carefully watches on us as we photograph/view it.

We’ve seen numerous marine iguanas along the coast, more than in most places, and it’s not surprising there would be a natural death the hawk would take advantage of.  It certainly couldn’t have carried here something this size. The iguana seems as large as the hawk, so the bird shouldn’t have to scavenge for several more days.

galapagos santiago puerto egas galapagos hawk-1  galapagos santiago puerto egas seal pup-1
                              Galapagos hawk feeds on its prize meal; a fur seal pup.

My day’s highlight comes near the end of our walk where we encounter a huge male fur seal with his harem.  The males are supposed to grow no larger than 5 feet (1.5m) in length and weigh no more than about 145 pounds. This fellow not only looks much larger and scarily impressive because he sits on a rock plateau just a few feet above us.

Seen in profile, this huge male should emphasize why the Galapagos fur seal’s scientific name is Arctocephalus galapagoensis, from Greek words meaning “bear headed.” to my, it doesn’t. Although this fur seal does have a short, pointed muzzle, along with a small, button nose and large eyes, the muzzle of most bears I’ve seen are considerably longer and the noses hardly button-size. Think hound dog, instead. But when the male fur seal starts bellowing at one of his concubines, he draws his lips back and flashed sharp, triangular teeth that did make me think of something as deadly as a bear.

Galapagos Santiago Island Puerto Egas male fur seal-1Male fur sea offering us some advice: “Stay away!”

Dominant male fur seals are enormously protective of their breeding territory, often required to challenge and chase away challengers. This fellow also obviously expends a lot of effort trying to keep his women in line, though he doesn’t seem to have much success. He seems to be loudly coaxing, or whatever—with hands, he might act like a gorilla beating its chest–to impress the only female on the platform with him. She acknowledges his “whatever,” occasionally swaying her head like a boxer in the ring, but eventually just turns and descends to join the other girls below him.

Our guide (a woman) explains, “She’s out to prove she wants more than a one-night stand. He needs to step up his game and romance her.”

It seems absurd that a creature this size and fearsome could ever court (date?) a mate. But male whales do it. Male sharks do it. Male magnificent frigate birds do it (remember those big red sacs?). Male blue-Footed Bobbies do it (by building impressive nests and their dancing). Uh, even human males do it. But instead of impressive nest building, we’ve evolved to dinner, a show, a sports event or not even acting in person, just text messaging.

In the Galapagos, you realize a lot about life and love.

Galapagos Santiago Island Lindblad Endeavour cruise shipLindblad’s National Geographic Endeavour off Puerto Egas

Lindblad Endeavour Galapagos Cruise Links

The Galapagos Experience                                             Endeavour Dining
Galapagos Adventure Upcoming                                 Sustainable Dining Policy
How Darwin Saved The Galapagos                              Saturday Dining Menus
Galapagos Photo Tips                                                       Sunday Dining Menus
What To Pack For Cruise                                                 Monday Dining Menus
Getting to Guayaquil                                                         Tuesday Dining Menus
Las Bachas Shore Landing                                              Wednesday Dining Menus
North Seymour Shore Landing                                      Thursday Dining Menus
Fernandina & Isabela Islands                                        Friday Finale Menus
Urbina Bay Shore Landing                                               Endeavour Recipes
Life Aboard The Endeavour
More About Life On Board
Puerto Egas Shore Landing
Endeavour’s Floating SPA
Meeting One of World’s Rarest Animals
Puerto Ayoro Walking Tour
Santa Cruz Highlands Tour
Hunting Tortoises in the Santa Cruz Highlands
San Cristobal, Endeavour’s final stop

More About Daily Life On Board Lindblad’s Endeavour

Lindblad Endeavour kayaking Galapagos-1

More thoughts and observations about daily life on the Lindblad National Geographic Endeavour, a follow-up to yesterday’s post.

Kayaking
According to Carlos Romero, our expedition leader, Lindblad Expeditions is the only cruise company to offer kayaking, That isn’t surprising since, according to the National Park, most other boats carry only 16 passengers. The kayaks serve two purposes: to provide a different activity and to allow passengers to seek out on their own the birds, iguanas and sea lions that reside on steep island cliffs. All kayaks are two-person sit-on-top models, which are quite stable; you’d have to work extremely hard to tip one over.

Lindblad Endeavour kayaking Galapagos-2                                       Paddling at Tagus Cove, Isabela Island

But with two people paddling, it’s vital both paddlers be in synch, each alternating to the same side with every stroke. Paddlers are out of synch when, seen from the front or rear, their paddle blades resemble a windmill in motion, which is not good; the purpose of windmill blades is to spin in a circle.

The only tricky part is getting in and out of the kayak, which is achieved from a Zodiac, not the Endeavour. A kayak is held alongside the inflatable as two paddlers, on at a time, slide onto the center of the kayak. It’s a more delicate exercise to slide back into the Zodiac since the kayak is lower. If anyone is likely to fall into the drink, it’s during the loading and unloading exercises.

The Endeavour has no scheduled kayak quick-course since it doesn’t require much instruction to propel the craft. However you may find these tips helpful. Guides accompany kayakers, able to shout directions to anyone needing help.  As with snorkeling, a Zodiac stays close to pick up anyone needing assistance or provide a tow.

Talks by Naturalists

These are one of the high-points of the trip. Frequently the briefings are just after lunch or part of the evening recap. Naturalists change regularly to rotate to other Lindblad ships or take a week or two off, meaning topics may change from week to week Almost all of the naturalists are Ecuadorians, either born in the Galapagos or long time island residents. All have been trained and certified by the National Park Service

Lindblad Endeavour Galapagos penguins-1  Lindblad Endeavour sea turtle Galapagos-1
Possible talk topics include Galapagos penguins and Pacific sea turtles 

Sample talk topics may include a history of early 20th century settlers in the Galapagos (if Galapagos native Aura Cruz gives this talk, you must attend not only for the information but the strange and wonderful video of people dancing with their “adopted child:” a donkey!). Expect an explanation of how Charles Darwin’s visit to the islands helped form his theory of natural selection, perhaps even a separate session or the evolution of fish species. Regardless, all sessions are informative and usually accompanied by films or slides shown on large flat screen TVs scattered around the lounge so everyone has a good view.

Personally, until one of the talks I never knew that Charles Darwin’s family was so wealthy and that it was due to the Darwin family tradition of marrying one of the Wedgwood daughters, as his father and Charles both did. These are the same Wedgwood  as in fine china and whose name has become almost a generic synonym for elegant table ware.

Endeavour Library
The ship’s library offers a small but interesting selection of books about the Galapagos and other expedition regions. Tim was one of the first people in the library after we sail from Baltra and he happened to find a worn copy of the Pulitzer-prize winning The Beak of the Finch: A Story of Evolution in Our Time. He found it a fascinating read, describing a 20-year study recording how the beaks of finches on Daphne Major Island changed over the span of 20 generations. The research proved for the first time the process of evolution not only occurs, it can also be observed. The study is still ongoing.

Lindblad library-1  N Seymour Darwin Finch-2
                 The Endeavour library; a Darwin finch on North Seymour Island

The library is worth visiting even if you don’t intend to read (there isn’t much free time except at night). The small room is a quiet, out-of-the-way place to sit and enjoy a cup of tea or snack on a wafer anytime, around the clock, since everything is provided on a self-serve basis. This is one of the ship’s less frequented areas.

The Computer Lab                          
A small computer lab located next to the reception area offers three  computers. All are linked to a printer, which can be used to make a hard copy of any important documents, such as airline online check-in. Satellite internet time is sold in various units, with the system working best when the Endeavour is stationary.
Lindblad Endeavour computer room-1

The Main Lounge
The social hub of the Endeavour is located on the deck just above the 100 cabins. The lounge is open around the clock for tea and free soda fountain (Diet Coke, Coke, Spite). A small glass-fronted cooler offers Ecuadorian beers with an honor system signup sheet for a person’s room number and the number of items taken. In early evening, just before the daily recaps, appetizers are served with treats like chicken lettuce wraps, chips, salsa, and veggies with dip. And the full bar here also is open at that time.

Lindblad lounge-1

The lounge provides the only the nightly entertainment, which normally consists of TV specials by (surprise!) National Geographic about different aspects of the Galapagos. Toward the end of the cruise, a group of local musicians and dancers from Santa Cruz Island entertained us with music and dance not only from Ecuador but Bolivia and Peru. Called Eco Arte, they were so impressive we bought all four of their CD’s, a perfect memory of the Galapagos. If you like their playing, buy the CD’s from them when they are on the ship. It’s the only opportunity you’ll have.

Galapagos Eduacorian dancer Lindblad National Geographic Endeavour

The Outside Decks
The stern has have a mix of tables and chairs and loungers, usually occupied by people reading or dozing between shore landings. A tiny swimming pool located near the stern is more like the size of a plunge pool and it seems universally ignored by everyone. It might appeal to young children, but none were on our trip.

Lindblad Endeavour sun deck-1  Lindblad Endeavour swimming pool-1

Tip: Wet bathing suits can really start smelling after a couple of days. Use the complimentary clothes dryer in the spa wellness area for anything that gets wet. Or take advantage of the Endeavour’s one-day laundry service.

Lindblad Endeavour Galapagos Cruise Links

The Galapagos Experience                                       Endeavor Dining
Galapagos Adventure Upcoming                            Sustainable Dining Policy
How Darwin Saved The Galapagos                         Saturday Dining Menus
Galapagos Photo Tips                                                  Sunday Dining Menus
What To Pack For Cruise                                            Monday Dining Menus
Getting to Guayaquil                                                    Tuesday Dining Menus
Las Bachas Shore Landing                                         Wednesday Dining Menus
North Seymour Shore Landing                                Thursday Dining Menus
Fernandina & Isabela Islands                                  Friday Finale Menus
Urbina Bay Shore Landing                                         Endeavour Recipes
Life Aboard The Endeavour
More About Life On Board
Puerto Egas Shore Landing
Endeavour’s Floating SPA
Meeting One of World’s Rarest Animals
Puerto Ayoro Walking Tour
Santa Cruz Highlands Tour
Hunting Tortoises in the Santa Cruz Highlands
San Cristobal, Endeavour’s final stop

Life On Board Lindblad’s National Geographic Endeavour


Lindblad endavour off Rabida-1

Who’s In Charge
Every Lindblad Endeavour Galapagos cruise has three supervisors:

The Captain, who hopefully you won’t see except at social functions. You don’t want to see him in a public area with a megaphone in hand or hear his voice over your cabin speaker during the distress signal while someone is pounding on your door.

The Expedition Leader, the most visible person of the three since this person usually oversees all departures and returns and emcees the nightly recaps in the lounge.

The Hotel Manager, someone who only occasionally is recognized at the lounge meetings but is usually present in the dining room at every meal. Other than the captain, this is the most important person on the ship. The hotel manger is in charge of the cabins, the dining room, pretty much everything on the ship that doesn’t include the bridge or any of the mechanical/technical operations.

Montserrat Rodriquez, Endeavour hotel manager                               Montserrat Rodriquez, the Endeavour’s hotel manger

Finding Your Way Around The Ship
Although the Lindblad National Geographic Endeavour is one of the largest ships stationed year-round in the Galapagos, it carries a maximum of 96 passengers. At the beginning of the cruise, you may find yourself going to the wrong decks because they have an unusual numbering system. Cabins with a 300 number are at the ship’s lowest level, while those with a 100 number are located two decks above, just the opposite of most cruise ships..

The Stateroom
Either the Endeavour has more spacious cabins than any other cruise line or Linda did a really good packing job. For a change, we don’t have camera equipment and other gear scattered around our stateroom. Square-foot wise, our cabin isn’t all that large but it has really good storage space.

Our stateroom room is basic: two twin beds against opposite walls with a nightstand in between. Together, the three items probably don’t cover much more space than a single king-size bed. However, under the beds we can hide the suitcases, shoes, dry bags and other gear. A flat area between the bed headboards and the cabin’s window makes a convenient shelf for our Kindles, books borrowed from the ship’s library, the daily activity sheets and our sunglasses. We each have a lamp over our beds with the added feature of a built-in reading light, one of the cabin’s best features.

    Lindblad Endeavour cabin-1                           Some cabins on the Endeavour have a large single bed

At the foot of one bed is an easy chair and a small work desk with chair and mirror. Amazingly, there are three electrical outlets above the desk instead of a single one on most cruise ships. Two of the outlets are 110, the other 220 for a European-style plug. We always pack a power strip to have enough outlets for our computers and for recharging camera batteries. Before Tim sets up his computer on the desk, most of the desk space was occupied by a large container for water and two drinking glasses. He transferred them to the top of a wooden coat rack, which acts like an additional shelf. They fit perfectly.

Behind the desk are two roomy closets with several large drawers for folded clothing plus plenty of space for hanging them. Everything fits perfect even with all of our computer and photography equipment. One item absent from the cabin is a TV, which we’re too busy to miss.

The cabin stewards are surprisingly attentive. In addition to their usual morning clean-up and towel change, they return during the day while we’re out to straighten up the room.

The Day Begins
Our mornings always start early, sometimes at 6:15 a.m. but never later than 6:45 with a wakeup call on “Radio Carlos,” the name for our room speaker. Carlos Romero, our expedition leader, always greets us with a cheery, “Good morning, breakfast will be served in 15 minutes.”  This speaker system has its pros and cons.  It’s a real convenience since you don’t have to worry about setting an alarm clock or being late for any activity because the departures are always announced well in advance.  And one of the two channels also broadcasts the nightly recaps and any afternoon talks by the naturalists held in the ship’s lounge. That makes it possible for us to stay in our cabin to download images from our cameras and not miss anything important.

Lindblad Endeavour sunset-2                                            Relaxing on deck for sunset watching.

The one bad part of the speaker system is that if you decide to sleep late and miss an excursion, you can’t turn down the volume. On the one morning Linda decides to take a break, she is regularly bombarded by Carlos’ announcements as he continually reports the departure times for kayaking and glass bottom boats throughout the morning. Normally you can turn down the volume or turn off the speaker. Not when “Radio Carlos” broadcasts. No way to avoid it.

The Shore Landings
Morning shore excursions usually depart at 8 a.m. and arrive back between 10:30 and 11:30 for lunch, which is at 12:30. Typically, the ship moves to a new location during lunch for a second shore landing. Our blogs occasionally cover both landings but most often concentrate on only one. Why? Because the walks may be so similar that describing one is enough. A more pressing reason: as we write these posts, we’re preparing to leave for New Zealand.

Snorkeling
At the beginning of the week, the naturalists help everyone select a properly-sized shortie wetsuit, a pair of fins and a correctly-fitted mask with snorkel. If you’ve never snorkeled much before, take advantage of the offered training before tackling the deep water snorkel outings. For deep water snorkeling, getting back in the boat is easy. The Zodiacs mount a removable set of stairs on their bows, a trouble-free way for getting in and out of the water. If you prefer, you can always leave the boat using a traditional backflip.

Lindblad snorkel boat-1            Snorkelers in a Zodiac outfitted with stairs to make getting in and out easy.

Galapagos water temperatures are chilly much of the year, sometimes plunging as low as the mid-50’s. The coldest water temperatures on our trip range from a low of 68 F to a high of 72 F. The water temperatures of each location usually are announced ahead of time so snorkelers can back out before getting wet. Even 72 F is a bit brisk for some of us with only a shortie. Back home, Florida’s fresh water springs average 72 F year-round, temps that require a full wet suit for scuba divers.

Those nippy water temperatures can be a relief when air temperatures reach 90 F and above, something you’re not apt to experiences in the Galapagos. On the other hand, those who were raised in colder climates consider the water temps to be “just like back home.” It’s a matter of personal fortitude; or an individual’s background and how close to the Arctic Circle they were raised.

Perhaps the comments at dinner by one woman snorkeler summed it up well for those accustomed to warmer conditions: “I turned on the shower as hot as it would go and I still couldn’t stop shaking.” That’s someone who hung in there too long, possibly risking hypothermia.

The combination of cold water with rough water can become unpleasant after a time. Not to worry. Zodiacs with their special stairs are available to pick up anyone who’s had more fun than they can stand.
  Lindblad sea lion making a shark fin-1                          Here’s a sight to catch snorkelers’ attention: a shark fin!!? 
                          No, a  swimming sea lion just having fun.

Lindblad Endeavour Galapagos Cruise Links

The Galapagos Experience                                       Endeavour Dining 
Galapagos Adventure Upcoming                            Sustainable Dining Policy
How Darwin Saved The Galapagos                         Saturday Dining Menus
Galapagos Photo Tips                                                  Sunday Dining Menus
What To Pack For Cruise                                           Monday Dining Menus
Getting to Guayaquil                                                    Tuesday Dining Menus
Las Bachas Shore Landing                                         Wednesday Dining Menus
North Seymour Shore Landing                                Thursday Dining Menus
Fernandina & Isabela Islands                                  Friday Finale Menus
Urbina Bay Shore Landing                                         Endeavour Recipes
Life Aboard The Endeavour
More About Life On Board
Puerto Egas Shore Landing
Endeavour’s Floating SPA
Meeting One of World’s Rarest Animals
Puerto Ayoro Walking Tour
Santa Cruz Highlands Tour
Hunting Tortoises in the Santa Cruz Highlands
San Cristobal, Endeavour’s final stop