Known the world over thanks to Charles Darwin’s famous visit on the Beagle in 1835 which fed directly into his Theory of Evolution, the landscape is rugged and beautiful, with high volcanic mountains and periodically active volcanoes. A unique ‘living museum and showcase of evolution’, the islands and surrounding marine reserve inspired Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. You will see today how animals have evolved to adapt to their environment. From giant tortoises to sea lions and penguins, marine iguanas and thousands of birds, each is a perfect example of Darwin’s theory at work. This environment is carefully protected and National Park-certified naturalist tour guides are on hand to show you the sights.
After much excitement, the fleet were thrilled to arrive at the Galápagos Islands and into the Pacific Ocean in March. The 900nm sail from Panama City to the Galápagos saw the fleet cross the equator where it is tradition to pay homage to King Neptune with a ceremony that takes crews from Pollywog status to Shellback, if it is their first time crossing the equator. The crews had great fun performing ceremonies onboard with creative costumes, dancing and food offerings.
The fleet cleared into San Cristobal and met the many local sea lions, who laze around all day on anything they can find, including yacht transoms and dinghies! Many yachts opted to take day trips whilst others hired local naturalist guides to experience the wonders of the archipelago off the tourist trail.
The fleet visited the Galápagos Science Centre to learn about the academic research and projects being carried out in the Galápagos Islands, notably whale migration and micro plastics. They also attended a talk from the Galápagos Conservation Trust on Giant Tortoise migration and conservation, which everyone found fascinating.
Highlights of the visit to Galápagos were diving at Kicker Rock, meeting the giant tortoises, experiencing the lava rocks at Sullivan Bay and meeting some super friendly penguins! Many yachts visited the amazing Floreana Island and its unique Post Office Bay, a sight where 18th-century whalers left postcards for passing sailors to deliver them home. The Post Office is still in operation today and each year thousands of postcards are dropped off and collected by visitors from around the world.
Next the fleet will sail the longest passage sail of the rally to one of the world’s most remote island groups, the Marquesas.