Galapagos with Silversea – penguin spotting

Our first post was an overview of our cruise to the Galapagos on Silverseas. Now we want to describe some of the things we did daily – starting with our first evening on the ship.

Kicker Rock

Kicker Rock Galapagos

Once we had lunch we unpacked and toured the ship. That evening, we went to the top deck to get our first glimpse of the Galapagos by ship. The captain circled around Kicker rock, an iconic rock jutting out of the ocean just off the coast of San Cristobol. The view was breathtaking and we quickly realized we were in no place like we’d ever seen before.

That evening we had a great grilled seafood meal on deck and got familiar with our cabin. The cabin was spacious, as you’d expect on Silversea. We met our butler and he explained how room service worked, we asked for our favorite sodas to be stocked in the refrigerator. We opted for a fixed window – no balcony. More on our cabin in a later post. Since we knew we had an early excursion the next morning (7 am) and we’d been traveling all day, we went to bed relatively early.

Bartolome in the morning

Lunar landscape
Bartoleme from the summit
The View from the summit. In the afternoon, we snorkeled right off the half moon shaped beach to the right of the trees. The penguins we saw were just around the tall pointed rock to the right.

The first morning we split up. Dave hiked up Bartolome to the summit. The best description of the island is that it is lunar landscape. This is geologically a very young volcanic island (500,000 years ago)  and the vegetation is just started to take hold on . Some cactus is starting to grow as well as scrubbing ground cover. The walk was entirely on a boardwalk – this made the trek easier but also helped protect the park from our influence.   At the summit we were able to see the mangrove trees below and the beach which we would later snorkel. Although a difficult trek, it was well with it.

A penguin sighting

Sue took a Zodiac tour which was a great preview of the snorkeling we did next. We did our first wet landing onto a beach, donned our snorkeling equipment and snorkeled away. Sue had spotted penguins around the bend and that’s where we headed off. This was our first undersea encounter with sea lions, turtles and tons of fish. The pictures speak volumes.

Lots of fish on our first snorkel in the Galapagos

First Penguin sighting from the Zodiac. These guys are only about 12 inches tall. But they are loud!


After lunch there were a couple of short lectures then Sue did a zodiac tour of the island.  A zodiac is a small rubber inflatable boat that we got very familiar with. It can get very close to shore with out any issues.

Dave did a kayak tour; apparently we did about 5 miles – it was hot and humid but the water was comfortable and the scenery was great.  Lots of blue footed boobies, pelicans and sea lions to see. It’s fun to be at sea level to get so close to the wildlife and geology. We’re learning that the wildlife is not scared of humans at all. Amazing!

Penguins are so neat – in the water they are so streamlined but on land, they walk with the classic penguin waddle. Here’s some more information on the Galapagos penguin, if you’re interested.

There’s always alternatives on the ship.  The morning Zodiac tour ran concurrent with the hike. If you didn’t want to snorkel, you could just relax on the beach.  The ship is all inclusive and drinks flow easily. Evenings include cocktail hour and fantastic food.

We soon realize this was no relaxing vacation though. We had hiked, snorkeled, lectured and “zodiaced” our day away. By bed time, it was hard to believe we had seen so much in only one day. Little did we know there was plenty more surprises ahead.

Next: Read about our next day with marine iguanas.

Susan Wolfson
My goal is to Make Your Next Vacation Your Best Vacation!®