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Blue-footed Booby.  Photo by Gina Nichol.Galápagos
Birding & Wildlife Cruise
September 23 - October 1, 2017
2 cabins left!

Contact gina@sunrisebirding.com to hold your place!

The Galápagos Islands are a dream destination for wildlife enthusiasts! Charles Darwin’s famous visit in 1835 and the subsequent publication of his Origin of Species revealed the many wonders of this living laboratory of evolution, population dynamics, ecology, and behavior.

Join us for this once in a lifetime trip to experience these extraordinary, isolated islands which are home to a fascinating diversity of animals—from giant Galápagos Tortoises weighing as much as 600 pounds to Waved Albatrosses with 8 foot wing spans to dancing Blue-footed Boobies. Discover the unique flora and fauna of the Galápagos Islands and meet intriguing wild residents—Marine Iguanas, Red-footed, Blue-footed and Nazca Boobies, Galápagos Penguins (snorkel with them off Isabela!), Darwin’s famous Finches, and many more.


We’ve offered several very successful tours in the Galápagos.  The key is choosing the right ship and we've selected a voyage with an award-winning, ecologically friendly company with decades of experience.  About our ship>

Ray BrownWe are pleased to have Ray Brown of Ray Brown's Talkin' Birds as the Sunrise Birding host for this tour in addition to the expert guides in Galapagos National Park.  Ray has hosted radio programs in Boston and Providence, R.I. for more than thirty years, and in 2005 he combined his love of radio with another passion -- nature and birdwatching — with the launch of the Talkin' Birds program. Talkin’ Birds is now heard on sixteen radio stations in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Vermont, and New York and around the world through live streaming and podcasts. Regular guests on Talkin’ Birds include birding authors David Sibley, Sy Montgomery, and Donald Kroodsma; and Ray Brown's Talkin Birdsbirding experts from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the National Wildlife Federation, the American Birding Association, and the American Bird Conservancy and others.
Listen to past shows on www.talkinbirds.com.

 

Don't miss this amazing opportunity to experience Darwin's enchanted islands. 
Email NOW to reserve your cabin!  gina@sunrisebirding.com

Trip Cost & Travel Planning>
Registration Form>

Some highlights of this tour:
  • Galápagos Tortoises in the highlands
  • Red-footed and Nazca Booby at Genovesa (Tower)
  • Land and Marine iguanas
  • Darwin's Finches
  • Snorkeling with Galápagos Penguins
  • Volcanic formations of Fernandina
  • Flightless Cormorant at Fernandina
  • Kayaking Darwin Bay and Tagus Cove
  • Galápagos Sea Lions, Fur Seals, Whales, Dolphins and more

DETAILED ITINERARY (Intended, see below**)

SATURDAY, September 23:
Upon arrival to Guayaquil, shuttle transfer to the Hotel Oro Verde. Guayaquil is the country's largest city and gateway to the Galapagos Islands. With its dynamic seaport, is the industrial capital of Ecuador and of the Guayas Province.

Hotel Oro Verde is located in the heart of the commercial and banking district and is the only member hotel of The Leading Hotels of the World in Ecuador. The guest rooms and suites are appointed with cable TV, internet connection, direct dial telephones, mini bar and safety boxes. There are three restaurants; Le Gourmet, La Fondue and El Patio Café, and gourmet deli, El Capitan bar, international casino, gym Oro Fit, sauna and swimming pool. The Oro Verde is a locally owned and operated hotel and recipient of the World Travel Award for Ecuador’s Leading Hotel. Oro Verde is the first hotel certified by Smart Voyager in Ecuador. Overnight Hotel Oro Verde.

Getting to Guayaquil:
The flight to Galapagos will be from Jose Joaquin de Olmedo International Airport
(Airport Code: GYE) in
Guayaquil, the second busiest airport in Ecuador. Plan to arrive in Guayaquil at least one day ahead of the cruise on September 24 so you don't miss the boat! Guayaquil Airport is currently serviced by the following airlines:

American Airlines, Avianca, Copa Airlines, LAN, TAME (from JFK in New York and
Fort Lauderdale)

Please do not book your flights until receiving specific instructions from us.

SUNDAY, September 24:
After a buffet breakfast, we will fly to Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, SAN CRISTOBAL.  Upon arrival, our crew will be waiting at the airport to escort us by bus to the dock and then by Zodiac to our yacht, the MY Eric, anchored in the bay.
About our ship>

After the welcome briefing and safety drill, a delicious buffet lunch will be served. We will then travel by bus to the highlands to visit Centro de Crianza Jacinto Gordillo (La Galapaguera Cerro Colorado) where the National Park has established a breeding program for the giant Galápagos Tortoises that you will encounter in their natural habitat. Learn about their origin, evolution and threats by introduced animals at the information center for visitors. Along the trail, we will look for the San Cristobal (Chatham) Mockingbird (Photo: Gina Nichol) and Calandrinia plant, both endemic to this island. This evening before dinner you will have your first onboard briefing followed by our Captain’s welcome cocktail party and dinner prepared by our well-trained chefs.

MONDAY, September 25:
Today, we spend the entire day on TOWER (Genovesa) Island, considered to be one of the most spectacular islands in Galápagos for bird species. We have a wet landing on Darwin Bay, a coral sand beach where Swallow-tailed and Lava Gulls gather near the tide pools. We'll walk the trail to a forest of Optuntia cactus and mangroves to a a nesting colony of Great Frigatebirds and hope to see the males inflate their red-throated pouches to attract females as they fly overhead. The trail leads through a rich intertidal zone home to a wide diversity of wildlife and we will enjoy, observe and photograph what we find here.

After lunch, we have a dry landing at Prince Philip’s Steps. Red-footed Boobies nest here in the Palo Santo trees and Nazca Boobies (Photo: Gina Nichol) nest near the trail. In an open lava field, we will look for Galápagos Storm Petrels, likely in large numbers. If we are lucky, we will see the elusive galapagoensis subspecies of Short-eared Owl here as well.  We'll look for the beautiful Red-billed Tropicbird in the crevices along the cliff by kayak or Zodiac. You can choose to swim or snorkel from the beach with Galápagos Sea Lions in these northern warmer waters or for those with experience, we offer snorkeling in deeper water. Later on, we will return to the yacht for briefing and dinner before we cross the equator.

TUESDAY, September 26:
Today we visit Las Bachas, which is the Spanish translation for “barges” and perhaps refer to the remains of some barges left from World War II just offshore. There is a long stretch of a soft white sand beach and interior lagoons where we find the American Flamingo, Brown Pelicans, White-cheeked Pintail ducks, Black-necked Stilts and Marine Iguanas. There is also a wonderful chance to take a stroll along the beach or swim from the shore. At Black Turtle Cove (Caleta Tortuga Negra) we have a zodiac ride through a series of coves and inlets surrounded by mangroves. Here you can view pairs of mating Pacific Green Sea Turtles (Sept to Feb.), White-tipped Reef Sharks and Golden Cownose Rays.

Located on the northern tip of Santa Cruz is Cerro Dragon (Dragon Hill). Along the trail, we find some of Darwin's famous finches (Cactus Finch photo by Gina Nichol), Galápagos Flycatchers, Yellow Warblers, Audubon's Shearwater and the endemic Land Iguanas, orange-yellow in color with large spines along their backs. We should see American Flamingos feeding in the salt-water lagoon as well as other lagoon birds; Black-necked Stilts, White-cheeked Pintails, an assortment of sandpipers and more. From the top of the hill, we enjoy a majestic view of the bay island covered in Opuntia cactus, Palo Santo and Cordia Lutea (muyuyu). After the briefing and dinner, we sail toward the western islands and cross the equator line for the third time.

WEDNESDAY, September 27:
Flightless Cormorant. Photo by Gina Nichol. Today, we have a semi-wet landing at Punta Espinoza, FERNANDINA, the youngest and most pristine island in Galápagos with no introduced mammals. Recent lava flows formed by an active volcano stretch their way around the coast. Hundreds of Marine Iguanas, the largest colony in Galápagos, bask in the sun along the rugged shoreline. Observe Galápagos Sea Lion harems with resident bulls carefully guarding their territory. Flightless Cormorants (Photo: Gina Nichol) build their nests on the point and Galápagos Hawks fly overhead. There is a chance to snorkel here with Green Sea Turtles and Marine Iguanas. After lunch, we cross the Bolivar Channel where we often spot whales and dolphins riding the bow wave.

We disembark at Urbina Bay, ISABELA, where we find four miles of its coastal seabed, with marine life exposed due to a dramatic uplift in 1954 when the volcano erupted. The marine remnants of coral skeletons, some of them waist-high, are visited after a wet landing on the beach. Urbina is home to the very large and colorful Galápagos Land Iguanas, Galápagos Tortoises and more of Darwin's finches. Brown Pelicans and Flightless Cormorants also nest here and Marine Iguanas are often seen along the coast. You may encounter Galápagos Penguins while snorkeling here.

At Punta Vicente Roca, a Zodiac ride offers an incredible view of the tuff walls, we can enter the wave-sculpted cave and find Green Sea Turtles and Galápagos Penguins, Flightless Cormorants and Galápagos Fur Seals that frequent this area. You may spot the dorsal fin of a Mola Mola, an odd looking giant sun fish. Return to the yacht for briefing and dinner.

THURSDAY, September 28:
Today we explore Elizabeth Bay, ISABELA by zodiac starting with a visit to a secluded cove, lined with large red mangrove trees. Here, turtles, rays, and shore birds can be seen. We motor to the rocky islets known as “Las Marielas”, where a colony of nesting Galápagos Penguins (Photo: Gina Nichol), Flightless Cormorants and giant Marine Iguanas are found. Isabela was created when six volcanoes flowed together and formed the largest Island in Galápagos.

Today, lunch is served out on the sun deck in a calm bay. We have a dry landing at Tagus Cove, located on the western Island of ISABELA and a favorite anchorage for pirates and whalers over the centuries. Old graffiti dating back to the 1800’s is written on the rocky cliffs. Explore the Coves by Zodiac or kayak to find Galápagos Penguins, Flightless Cormorants, Boobies, Pelicans and other seabirds. An uphill hike brings us to a salt-water lagoon, a scenic overlook with a spectacular view of the ocean, lava fields and volcanic formations. An excellent snorkeling site is offered from the zodiac or take out a Kayak and explore the shoreline. After dinner, a sky full of stars beckons to go on deck and observe the galaxy while crossing the equator for the last time.


FRIDAY, September 29:
This morning, we stroll along the shoreline at Puerto Egas, SANTIAGO (James) looking for octopus, starfish and other sea life caught in the tide pools. If it is low tide, we may catch a glimpse of Marine Iguanas as they feed on exposed green algae. Along the water edge, we'll look for Great Blue Herons, Lava Herons, American Oystercatchers and Yellow-crowned Night Herons. Our walk ends at the grottos, deep pools of clear water where we encounter Galápagos Fur Seals once on the verge of extinction. Before returning to the yacht, there is a snorkeling opportunity.

After lunch, take a seat on deck to view the dramatic landscape and dolphins that are often spotted here. We disembark on RABIDA (Jervis), located near James Island. Rabida is considered the geographic center of Galápagos because this island sports the most diversified volcanic rocks. The dark red sand beach originated from the high content of iron in the volcanic stones. While strolling along the trail, you may find Marine Iguanas and Lava Lizards (Photo: Gina Nichol), Galápagos Mockingbirds, Yellow Warblers and several species of Darwin's Finches leading to a salt water lagoon. After the walk, there is not-to-miss snorkeling option with tropical fish, White-tipped Reef Sharks and Galápagos Sea Lions. We return to the yacht for dinner and a briefing.


SATURDAY, September 30:
Galapagos Tortoise. Photo by Gina Nichol. Today we visit SANTA CRUZ Island traveling from shore by bus to the highlands. The scenery gradually changes as we wind our way through all seven vegetation zones found in Galápagos. Here, we visit the tortoise reserve at “Las Primicias” one of the private farms in the highlands where we encounter giant Galápagos Tortoises (Photo: Gina Nichol) in their natural habitat. We stop at “the tunnels”, the largest lava tubes found in Galápagos.

We will also visit the Centro de Crianza Fausto Llerena (Charles Darwin Research Station) and take a look at the diverse scientific work going on here.  There are three large tortoise corals and a tortoise breeding center with new hatchlings and miniature tortoises not yet ready to be repatriated. Scientists from all over the globe work at the station and conduct biological research from anatomy to zoology. We stop at Van Straelen Hall where there are more exhibits and then visit Puerto Ayora is the social heart of the islands with the largest population of 24,000 inhabitants. This evening you have the option to return to your yacht for the Captain’s Farewell Cocktail and dinner. Zodiacs will be provided for those who chose to return to town to spend a bit more time or shop for souvenirs.

SUNDAY, October 1 :
This morning, we visit the Interpretation Center opened on San Cristobal Island in 1999 by bus. Here we gain a more complete understanding of the natural and human history of the Islands. Afterwards, we spend an hour in port before heading to the airport for our flight back to the mainland departing before noon time. On arrival, you can overnight in Guayaquil or connect with your departing flight home.

Woodpecker Finch
Photo: Gina Nichol

**Important Note: Cruising in Galápagos is very much influenced by weather conditions and completely controlled by Ecuadorian government regulations.  Changes in weather or governmental restrictions may require changes to be made to the itinerary and/or the cancellation of certain routes or shore excursions. Every attempt will be made to adhere to the intended itinerary within the limits of safety and time. In the event of changes, passengers have no right to any refund or other compensation.


Leader(s):  Licensed Galapagos National Park Guides.  A Sunrise Birding leader will accompany this trip with 10 passengers or more. 

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Photos, top to bottom:  Curious Galapagos Penguins, Land Iguana, Great Frigatebird, Short-eared Owl, Sally Lightfoot Crab, Yellow Warbler. Photos by Gina Nichol.

Call or email NOW to reserve your spot!
(203) 453-6724  gina@sunrisebirding.com


Flamingo1ABOUT THE SHIP
The cruise will be on a superior first-class yacht custom-designed for Galápagos cruising: the M/Y Eric. Built in 1991 and refurbished annually, the ship accommodates no more than 20 guests and features three decks of spacious staterooms with polished teak interiors trimmed with shiny brass fittings. Accommodations include ten double outside-facing cabins with a window or porthole view, one double bed or two twin lower beds, fully air-conditioned with private bathroom (hot and cold water showers), bio-degradable soap/shampoo dispensers, hair dryer, closet, drawers, intercom and separate climate controls for your comfort. There’s a dining room, well-stocked bar and conference area with a flat screen TV, library and panoramic picture windows. Or you can relax in a lounge chair on the sun deck, enjoying sea breezes and a sky full of stars.


CABIN CATEGORIES
Cabins are fully air-conditioned with private bath (hot and cold water showers) with soap and shampoo dispensers, hair dryer and have a closet, drawers, intercom and separate climate controls.

DOLPHIN DECK: (Upper Deck)  Cost: $5,400.00 per person, double occupancy. Cabins have two twin lower beds or one double bed and picture windows. This is the top deck offering great views.

BOOBY DECK: (Main Deck)  Cost: $4,900.00 per person, double occupancy.
Cabins # 5 & 6 cabins have one double bed and picture windows. This is the main deck and is convenient to the dining area and lounge. Cabins average 90 square feet/ 8.4 square meters.

IGUANA DECK: (Lower Deck) Cost: $4,500.00 per person, double occupancy.
Cabins have two twin lower beds and port lights.

DECK PLAN

 

PUBLIC AREAS
The dining room features Ecuadorian and international cuisine and a well-stocked bar. There is a conference area with panoramic picture windows for briefings with flat screen TV, DVD player and library. The observation deck includes both covered observation areas and an open sun deck with lounge chairs.

 

CRUISE FEATURES

The 7-night cruise includes:
-Three meals daily, snacks and non-alcoholic beverages
-Captain’s welcome and farewell cocktail parties
-2 island excursions daily with English-speaking naturalist guide– maximum 10 guests
-Complimentary snorkeling equipment, custom wet suits, sea kayaks


SHIP SPECS
The MV Eric is a 20-guest superior first-class motor yacht with 10 fully air-conditioned outside staterooms with private bathrooms.  It has a fully-stocked bar and boutique, 24 hour coffee & tea station, lounge for briefings with TV, DVD, games and library, spacious wildlife observation areas, open and shaded sun deck with loungers.

LOA: 83 feet / 25 meters
BEAM: 24 feet. / 7 ½ meters
DRAFT: 6 feet.
GROSS TONS: 240.
DRAFT: 6 feet / 1.8 meters
CRUISING SPEED: 10-12 knots.
ENGINES: (2) 402 HP Caterpillar, 8-cylinder turbo diesel.
GENERATORS: (2) Perkins 90 KW generators.
WATER CAPACITY: 5,000 gallons. / 18,921 liters
WATERMAKER CAPACITY: 2,530 gallons per day. / 9575 liters per day
FUEL CAPACITY: 5,400 gallons. / 20,435 liters

NAVIGATIONAL EQUIPMENT: Highly sophisticated navigational and mechanical equipment meet the highest safety standards found in Galápagos including: 24 mile Furuno radar, Furuno Satellite Navigator, Electric compass, magnetic compass, clock, barometer.

COMMUNICATION EQUIPMENT: VHF and HF-SSB radios.

SAFETY EQUIPMENT: All equipment meets SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea) and ISM standards including VIKING 25-person inflatable capsule lifeboat, 40 life vests with whistles and fluorescent markers, 10 circular buoys, fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, Automatic radio buoy via satellite EPIRB (emergency position indicator radio beacon) All crew members are experienced and trained by ISM and in the regulations that local, Navy and National Park authorities require.

CERTIFICATION OF VESSELS: ABS (American Bureau of Shipping)
VOLUNTARY ECOLOGICAL CERTIFICATION: Smart Voyager


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Galápagos
Birding & Wildlife Cruise
September 23 - October 1, 2017
     
Registration Form>
 


CRUISE PRICE based on double occupancy: 
  • DOLPHIN DECK: (Upper Deck) 
    Cost: $5,400.00 per person, double occupancy. Two twin lower beds or one double bed and a picture window. This is the top deck offering great views.

  • BOOBY DECK: (Main Deck) 
    Cost: $4,900.00 per person, double occupancy. One double bed and a picture window. This is the main deck and is convenient to the dining area and lounge.

  • IGUANA DECK: (Lower Deck)
    Cost: $4,500.00 per person, double occupancy. Cabins have two twin lower beds and port lights. Some cabins have 3 bunks and the per person cost is $4400 with 3 sharing.  Singles are available on Iguana Deck for $7700 per person

ACCOMMODATION in Guayaquil, September 23: Add to cruise price $150 per person, double occupancy.

Deposit: $500.00 per person. Book early for your choice of cabin!


Included:

  • First night accommodation at Hotel Oro Verde in Guyaquil and
    buffet breakfast on Day 2. 
  • Group airport transfers. (Transfers outside of designated group times
    may incur an extra charge.)
  • 7-night Galapagos Cruise including:
    Three meals daily
    Snacks and non-alcoholic beverages
    Captain’s welcome and farewell cocktail parties
    Two excursions daily with English-speaking naturalist guide
    Complimentary snorkeling equipment and wet suits.

Not included:

  • International roundtrip airfare from your home to Guayaquil, Ecuador
    (Airport code: GYE). 
  • Dinner on Day 1 as some flights may arrive too late. 
  • Round-trip flight from Guayaquil to Galápagos (approximately $450.00 per person).
  • Galápagos National Park fee (currently $100.00 per person).
  • Transit Control Card (currently $20 per person).
  • Items of a personal nature such as porterage, laundry, telephone, alcoholic beverages and soft drinks and other personal items and services not specifically mentioned as included.
  • Gratuities, at your discretion, to naturalist guides and crew. 
    A suggested amount is $200 per person.
  • Passport expenses, luggage charges on flights, Travel, baggage, accident or cancellation insurance.
  • Additional accommodation in Ecuador before or after the tour.
  • Departure tax from Ecuador (Currently about $45.00 per person).
  • Airline or ship fuel surcharges.

**Please note: Tour/Cruise price is based on quoted costs from ground operators, estimated fuel costs, and the rate of exchange at the time of itinerary publication. The erratic nature to global financial markets makes it difficult to predict changes in costs and foreign currency exchange rates over the long term. Since tours are priced well in advance of the actual operation of the tour, tour costs, fuel costs and exchange rates can change, sometimes drastically. Depending on the extent of such changes, it may be necessary to implement a surcharge on this tour. If a surcharge is necessary, every effort will be made to minimize the amount.

Additional travel in Ecuador: 
There are options for additional day trips and extensions in Ecuador should you wish to expand your holiday.  Please inquire with gina@sunrisebirding.com.

RESERVATIONS: To reserve your place on this tour, complete the Registration & Release Form and mail it with your deposit of $500.00 per person to Sunrise Birding, LLC.  Instructions are on the form. Reservations are held with a deposit on a first-come, first-served basis.   
>Download & print the Registration Form 

 

Final payment is due by May 23, 2017 and must be paid by check. 


Cancellations and Refunds:  All cancellations must be made in writing.  In the event that you must cancel your booking at any stage, all payments you have made to Sunrise Birding, LLC will be retained by us, except at our discretion. Please ensure that you take out adequate insurance to cover this and any other eventuality as early as possible. You may have the opportunity to transfer your booking to another tour or another person, provided you are unavoidably prevented from coming on the tour. In this case, you will bear any extra costs that such changes may incur. There are no refunds once the trip is confirmed to go ahead and no refunds will be made for unused meals, accommodations, or other trip features. 

Insurance:  The purchase of trip cancellation insurance to cover any eventuality is strongly recommended.  Sunrise Birding, LLC can not accept liability for airline cancellations or delays or penalties incurred by the purchase of non-refundable airline tickets or other expenses incurred by tour participants in preparing for this tour. 

 

Travelex

Questions? Contact Gina Nichol at gina@sunrisebirding.com 
Phone: 203.453.6724

ITINERARY IN BRIEF

Day
Date Itinerary Night
1
Saturday, September 23 Arrive Guayaquil, Ecuador.  Hotel Oro Verde
2
Sunday, September 24 Fly to Puerto Baquerizo Moreano, SAN CRISTOBAL Galápagos; Board ship. Explore San Cristobal Island: La Galapaguera Cerro Colorado 7 nights cruising the islands
3
Monday, September 25 Genovesa/Tower Island: Darwin Bay / Prince Philip’s Steps
4
Tuesday, September 26 Santa Cruz Island: Las Bachas or Black Turtle Cove, Cerro Dragon
5
Wednesday, September 27 Fernandina Island: Punta Espinoza, Urbina Bay. Isabela Island or Punta Vicente Roca
6
Thursday, September 28

Isabela Island:  Elizabeth Bay, Tagus Cove

7
Friday, September 29 Santiago/James Island: Puerto Egas.
Rabida Island
8
Saturday, September 30 Santa Cruz Island: Highlands & Darwin Station
9
Sunday,
October 1
San Cristobal Island: Interpretation Center;
Flight to Quito.  Departures from Guayaquil, Ecuador or extra night in the Hotel Oro Verde.