World ARC 2019-20 Discovering Galapagos

28 February 2019

The World ARC crews are on their final stages of exploring the magnificence of the Galapagos Islands. During the 2-week programme they have had the opportunity to visit three of the larger islands, San Cristobal, Isabela and Santa Cruz.

After arriving to San Cristobal and enjoying the most eastern part of the Galapagos on daily tours, short term cruises and on their own boats, a number of the fleet chose to sail overnight to Isabela reaching, the sheltered anchorage at Puerto Villamil in daylight to assist with the navigation around the reefs.

Shaped like a seahorse, Isabela is the most Western island of the archipelago and has an abundance of wildlife both on land and at sea. Colder currents flowing around the shores brings rich nutrients and thus the food chain begins making Isabela a haven for a long list of wildlife to include the Galapagos Penguin, white tipped reef sharks, sea turtles, marine iguanas and of course the famous blue footed boobies.

There are a number of tours which participants can learn more about this unique and precious island. Some of the more popular ones include Las Tintoreas which is approximately a 3-hour excursion by boat, land and under the water. Starting with a boat trip around the lagoons to see the penguins and boobies, this tour really allows you to get up close to the animals. Following this, there is a short walk around the lava rocks to meet with the marine iguanas and view the shallow pools below teaming with white tipped reef sharks. The final part of this particular tour includes a 45-minute snorkel which involves swimming with the magnificent sea turtles. 


For those feeling a little more adventurous there is a walking tour of the Volcano which is an important part of the history of the Galápagos Islands and is the reason for the creation of the archipelago formed 1 million years ago. The oldest islands are situated in the South (formed 4.2 million years ago) with the youngest islands located on the Western side of the archipelago, to include Isabela. On this tour participants walk up the crater of Sierra Negra covering a trail of 17km. Lead by experienced guides, they provide an explanation about the vegetation as well as the history of the active volcano which last erupted in 2017 expending the territory of Galapagos by 1.5km on the Northern part of the Island as the lava entered the ocean. The top of the volcano is about 1100m above sea level offering a fantastic 360 degree view around Isabela. The walk is approximately 5-hours in total but because of the heavy formation of clouds at the top they provide good protection from the sun and periodically refreshing rain showers.

Over the weekend the World ARC 2019-20 fleet gather again, anchoring in Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz, where preparations begin for Leg 4 which is the longest sail on the overall rally, just under 3,000 NM from the Galapagos to the Marquesas.