Outdoor Activities and Meeting Areas
on the National Geographic Endeavour
According to Carlos Romero, our expedition leader, Lindblad Expeditions is the only cruise company to offer Galapagos kayaking. That isn’t surprising since most other boats are much smaller. Some carry only 16 passengers.
The kayaks serve two purposes: to provide a different activity and to allow passengers to find birds, iguanas and sea lions residing on the 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.
Paddling at Tagus Cove, Isabela Island
With two people paddling, it’s important both paddlers be in synch, each alternating to the same side with every stroke. You know paddlers are out of synch when their paddle blades look like a spinning windmill.
The only tricky part is getting in and out of a kayak. It is not done on shore but from a Zodiac. A kayak is held alongside the inflatable as two paddlers, on at a time, slide onto the center of the kayak. Sliding back into the Zodiac is a more delicate exercise because 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 kayak quick-courses since it really doesn’t require much instruction to propel the craft. However, you may find these tips helpful. Guides accompany kayakers, shouting directions to anyone needing help. As with snorkeling, a Zodiac stays close to pick up anyone needing assistance or to 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 as they rotate to other Lindblad ships or take a week or two off. Almost all of the naturalists are Ecuadorians born in the Galapagos or long time island residents. All have been trained and certified by the National Park Service.
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. There may even be a separate session on 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.
You will learn Charles Darwin and his family were quite wealthy. Charles and his father married into wealth, each marrying a woman named Wedgwood. Think of Wedgwood as in fine china and whose name has become almost a synonym for elegant table ware.
The Endeavour’s 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 could also be observed. The study is still ongoing.
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 units. The Internet works best when the Endeavour is stationary.
The Main Lounge
The social hub of the Endeavour is located on the deck just above the 100 cabins. This is the lounge open around the clock for tea and with a free soda fountain (Diet Coke, Coke, Sprite). A small glass-fronted cooler offers Ecuadorian beers with an honor system signup sheet. In early evening, just before the daily recaps, appetizers like chicken lettuce wraps, chips, salsa, and veggies with dip are served. The full bar is open then.
The lounge provides the only the nightly entertainment, which normally consists of National Geographic TV programs about 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 from Ecuador, 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 Eco Arte’s performance, buy the CD’s while the group is on the ship. It’s the only opportunity you’ll have.
The Outside Decks
The stern has 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 the size of a plunge pool and seemed universally ignored by everyone. It might appeal to young children, but none were on our trip.
Tip: Bathing suits really start to smell after a couple of days. Use the complimentary clothes dryer in the spa for anything 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