Indescribable: The Voyage of the Silver Galapagos
Our first day in the Galapagos got off to an early start this morning, as Silversea’s Silver Galapagos dropped anchor off of Bartolome Island. More guests than I would have expected turned up in the Explorer Lounge on Deck 3 for our 0630 departure by Zodiac to the island for an early-morning hike to one of the most picturesque sights in the Galapagos.
Protected from the sun by overcast skies, temperatures hovered around 20°C for most of our two-hour hike up 388 steps and 114 metres (roughly 300 feet) of elevation gain. The first form of wildlife we encountered today – right by the Zodiac landing site – was the much-prized Blue-Footed Boobie.
Known for their almost fluorescent-blue feet, the Blue-Footed Boobie catches fish by literally dive-bombing them from above, dropping 25 metres (about 70 feet) in a matter of seconds and ensnaring its prey. The poor fish never knew what hit them. The term ‘boobie’ actually comes from Spanish sailors, who referred to the birds of the Galapagos as bobos, or “stupid”, because of their reluctance to flee from humans.
It also results in some fantastic double entendres. It’s not every day you hear someone exclaim, “these are the best boobies we’ve seen all year!” and have it be taken seriously. Or perhaps I’m the only one with an immature sense of humour…
Like on Silversea’s other expedition vessels, the Expedition Team here onboard Silver Galapagos is first-rate. Unlike the other expedition ships, however, all of the Expedition Team members and leaders are Ecuadorian. This is due to local regulations, and all guides must be certified by the National Park Service (NPS). Guides aboard Silver Galapagos are what the NPS refers to as ‘Class Three Guides’, which is the highest-attainable level of knowledge and skill. Class Three guides have to have excellent English, and must possess a degree in natural sciences.