Galapagos Islands - Ecuador
The last paradise
Animals on the Galapagos Islands could develop totally undisturbed for the last 5 million years.
Highlights of the research trip
Sightings of humpback whales
Along the Ecuadorian coast line humpback females migrate from the cold Antarctic region to the warm waters north of the equator to give birth. Afterwards they migrate back together with their calves towards Antartic feeding areas. During this journey, the females take plenty of time to let the young continue gaining a protective layer of fat. Mother-child interactions can often be observed close to the coast.
Sightings of dolphins
The waters around Galapagos Islands are rich in marine life due to a combination of tropical warm water as well as the current of the cool St. Humbolt stream, which is full of nutrients. Several marine mammals such as bottlenose dolphins, common dolphins, pilot whales, longsnouted spinner dolphins and pantropical spotted dolphins can be found.
Further species in the region
Besides the humpback whales plenty other large whales can be observed on their migration: bryde's whale, sperm whale and orca, occasionally even sei whale, minke whale, blue whale and fin whale.
Research activity at sea
During the trip you will learn interesting facts about whales, dolphins and the ecosystems of the oceans from an experienced marine biologist.
You will support the marine biologist gathering scientific data. Therefore, you will use the so called line transect while observing, identifying and counting whales and dolphins. This method is the fundamental basis for research.
The knowledge about local presence and number of individuals of different species help estimating the size of populations in diverse areas. These important facts will be submitted to international and local research institutions. With this support you will contribute to a valuable worldwide effort to protect these fascinating animals.
Knowledge about ecosystems
During brief lectures and relaxed discussions you get insights in the development of marine mammals, their biology, ecology, life in the oceans and plenty more. In addition, you can discover the fascinating underwater world and its colorful reefs by swimming, snorkeling and/or diving. Together with the guide you will explore the reefs and meet other inhabitants of the oceans in their natural habitat. These practical experiences make the great scientific work complete.
Talking to local fishermen and people are further highlights which offer new perspectives and sharpen our view for regional problems (e.g. overfishing, freshwater scarcity, pollution etc.).
There will also be the opportunity to visit nature reserves and wildlife parks on guided tours to see the fauna and flora in its whole beauty.
Besides research work and onboard activities there will be plenty of time to relax, lay back and enjoy the sea, the sun, taking a bath and for joined meals in beautiful scenery.
Details of the trip