Thanks to Kristy for arranging this special trip for us. Knowing our preference for a nicer vessel and a varied itinerary she recommend the Odyssey's Southeastern Islands trip. My wife Bernadine and I are retired and are relatively experienced travelers, and we were thoroughly impressed with the voyage- it was one of the best small boat cruises we have every taken. All of Kristy's recommendations were spot-on and we took her advice to never pass up a chance to snorkel or kayak- which we really appreciated in hindsight as we experienced some wildlife encounters in the water that were true once in a lifetime experiences. We also were grateful to travel with such a reputable operator and with such experienced guides and staff, which Kristy mentioned was a hallmark of this program. All our travel arrangements made by Kristy were seamless and saved us a lot of time and energy.
On the first day we were met by our guide at the airport and we were then first introduced to the other fourteen passengers who were going to be on the cruise with us. We got on a bus and it took us to Cerro Colorado where we visited a tortoise reserve center, where the government has been protect the giant land tortoises.
Then returning to the port we were taken out by Zodiac rubber boats to the Odyssey which was to be our home for the next six day for refreshments and introductions to the crew and a brief time to clean up and shower in our spacious very comfortable room. And then we got to enjoy, what for me was really the best part of the whole trip—the absolutely fabulous cuisine on this boat. As we were finishing our meal, the boat departed for another nearby island, Espanola. Before departing we always had a briefing in the lounge conducted by the Naturalist who was our guide the entire trip. He would tell us at what hour we would be doing what the following day and put it on a white board so we could be ready to go with what type of shoes for the next morning.
And then we got to enjoy, what for me was really the best part of the whole trip—the absolutely fabulous cuisine on this boat. As we were finishing our meal, the boat departed for another nearby island, Espanola. Before departing we always had a briefing in the lounge conducted by the Naturalist who was our guide the entire trip. He would tell us at what hour we would be doing what the following day and put it on a white board so we could be ready to go with what type of shoes for the next morning.
We primarily traveled at night. The waters were calm, and every night we anchored in a cove or calm spot, so that my wife who suffers from occasional sea sickness was not bothered at all. Each morning after a wonderful breakfast and coffee, and we went ashore to each island for a morning walk to look at the flora and fauna of that particular site. Every time we returned to the boat we enjoyed a snack and then prepared for the next activity, which might have included snorkeling, or a trip to a beach for a swim or a kayak ride. The water temperatures were always quite comfortable. We did not need wet suits. Lunch was always served at the noon hour and was always beautifully presented and again excellent food. Dinner was always even better each day. I was very impressed with the food overall on the trip.
Our guide was a 50 plus year old Ecuadorean who spoke excellent English. He was knowledgeable about the natural features of the islands, and the wildlife. He led each one of the water and sea excursions and was very helpful.
The absolute highpoint of the trip for me, was a particular snorkeling trip. We had seen a pod of orcas from the vessel as we motored to that morning's planned snorkeling location. Our guide told us that we might be in for a special treat and we were. We started snorkeling around a small group of islands, and while watching for the normal schools of colorful fish, occasional hammerhead shark, and sea turtles, a group of three orcas came right through our group of snorkelers at a very high rate of speed, in pursuit of a couple of small sea lions that were accompanying us. That was certain a big rush for me! Another nearby vessel had declined to snorkel with us that day, their younger guide assuming that it could be too dangerous to go in the water when the orcas were there. Our more experienced guide told us afterwards that he has seen orcas many times over his fifty years, and he had never seen them being dangerous to humans so he led us into the water.
We would not hesitate to recommend Kristy to anyone looking to travel in the Galapagos and Ecuador. Her years of experience with the destination were obvious and really made us appreciate the use of an expert like herself. We loved our voyage on the Odyssey and would also recommend that to anyone looking for top notch accommodations, great food, excellent guides and amazing itineraries.