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Historic yacht for a legendary cruise, on a natural world expedition
Built in Southampton, UK, by Camper and Nicholsons, the oldest marine leisure-yacht builder in the world, the Motor Yacht Grace is named after her last owner, Princess Grace of Monaco. The name is a representation of her elegance, beauty and prestige.
M/Y Grace is the ideal small luxury yacht for the traveler who seeks a true nautical safari experience, complimented with excellent service and dinning. The Grace also has a cruise director onboard. The yacht has spacious dining room, sitting room inside, as well as 'al fresco' dining areas, sun deck, library, bar-salon, kayaks, and a jacuzzi.
The Motor Yacht Grace offers 9 spacious staterooms of up to 19 square meters (209 square feet) to accommodate 18 guests. There are two Master Suites (A1 & A4) with Queen size bed, and two Twin Suites (A2 & A3) with Twin beds, on the Upper Deck, all with picture windows; plus 5 Staterooms with porthole windows on the lower, Carolina Deck, three cabins (C1, C2 & C5) with a Queen size and two cabins (C3 & C4) with Twin beds . All cabins feature private bathrooms, individual climate controls, safe boxes, telephones and plenty of storage space for clothing and luggage. Bathrooms have all the essential amenities, hair dryers and ample space to store toiletries.
The Grace also has a cruise director on board. The yacht has spacious public spaces inside, as well as 'al fresco' dining areas, sun deck, library, bar-salon, kayaks, and a Jacuzzi.
Year of construction:
|Accommodation:||Albert Deck: 2 cabins with double beds and 2 cabins with twin beds; Carolina Deck: 2 cabins with double beds and 3 cabins with twin beds|
|On Board:||Dining room, lounge with books and board games, bar, outdoor dining area and jacuzzi on Monaco Deck, open sun deck with loungers. Grace carries kayaks and snorkelling gear|
|Maximum speed:||12 knots|
|Crew:||9 + 2 guides|
The Grace offers opulent accommodation to match her prestigious past. You'll be living in high style during your cruise, enjoying the facilities, fine food and shore excursions.
The 9 staterooms combine the style of a bygone era with modern comforts such as individual climate control, safe and telephone. You'll have plenty of room for your belongings and a well equipped bathroom.
You'll mix with fellow travellers in the dining room and lounge, as you relax into your elegant surroundings and start to feel at home. Grace has an attractive sun deck where you'll find inviting easy chairs beckoning and a barman at your beck and call for that refreshing drink. A separate deck area at the front of the boat has deck chairs and a jacuzzi. Meals are served buffet style and you can choose to eat indoors or out, as you prefer.
Deck plan & cabins
She offers 9 spacious staterooms of up to 19 square meters to accommodate a amximum of 18 guests. There are two Master Suites (A1 & A4) with Queen size bed, and two Twin Suites (A2 & A3) with Twin beds, on the Upper Deck, all with picture windows; plus 5 Staterooms with porthole windows on the lower, Carolina Deck, three cabins (C1, C2 & C5) with a Queen size and two cabins (C3 & C4) with Twin beds . All cabins have private bathrooms, individual climate controls, safe boxes, telephones and plenty of storage space for clothing and luggage.
Darwin's Footsteps - 7 nights
Saturday to Saturday
Day 1 - Arrival & Whaler Bay
AM: The flight from Quito (via Guayaquil) to the Galapagos is approximately 1 ½ hours. Upon arrival at Baltra airport travellers pass through an airport inspection point to insure that no foreign plants or animals are introduced to the islands and to pay the park entrance fee of $100 (unless prepaid). Guides will meet you, collect your luggage and escort you on the short bus ride to the harbor. Motorized rafts, called 'Pangas' will transport you to the M/V Grace and our crew will welcome you on board. Upon arrival we board M/V Grace where you will have lunch and a quick briefing en-route to our first visitor sites.
PM: Whaler Bay - It is a beautiful green sand cove at the base of Dragon Hill and Eden Islet, home to a great variety of seabirds and marine iguanas and also a great snorkelling site. After these visits we get ready for our welcome cocktail and first briefing before continuing to dinner. (L, D).
Day 2 - Santa Fe & South Plaza
AM: Morning visit to Santa Fe Island, home to one of the most beautiful and sheltered bays of the archipelago, and to some of the best snorkelling - with its crystal clear waters. Certainly one of the best locations to see sea turtles, swim with sea lions and get a glimpse of the Galapagos White-tipped Shark. After a wet landing you will walk up to a nearby cliff to see the land iguanas through an area of Opuntia Cactus.
PM: In the afternoon we visit South Plaza Island and its land iguanas wandering through bright red carpet weed. We will see swallow tailed gulls nesting around the overhang tops and red-billed tropicbirds, frigate birds and shearwaters flying with dancing displays. (B, L, D).
Day 3 - Genovesa
AM: Prince Phillip's Steps is an extraordinary steep path that leads through a seabird colony full of life, up to cliffs that are 25 metres (82 feet) high. At the top, the trail continues inland, passing more seabird colonies in a thin palo santo forest.
PM: Tower Island could serve as a film set for a secret submarine base! The southwestern part of the island is an ocean-filled caldera ringed by the outer edges of a sizeable and mostly submerged volcano. The island sits to the northwest, slightly removed from the Galapagos archipelago. It is also known as "Bird Island," a name it lives up to in a spectacular way! (B, L, D).
Day 4 - Fernandina & Isabela
AM: In the morning we visit Fernandina Island, home to La Cumbre volcano, which erupts frequently (most recently in May 2005). We visit Punta Espinosa, a narrow spit of land, where a number of unique species, such as marine iguanas, sea lions, flightless cormorants, herons, egrets and Galapagos hawks can be seen in close proximity.
PM: Afternoon visit to Urbina Bay, directly west of Isabela's Volcano Alcedo, where we will make an easy, wet landing (a hop into a few inches of water). We walk on a stretch of three miles (5 km) of the marine reef that has been uplifted by as much as 13 feet (4 meters) out of the water. A highlight of this excursion are the giant land iguanas and giant tortoises, as well as the opportunity to go snorkelling amongst marine creatures, or just relaxing on shore. (B, L, D).
Day 5 - Isabela Island
AM: Morning visit to Tagus Cove on Isabela Island. A wooden stairway rises to the trail entrance and continues around Darwin Lake through a dry vegetation zone, and ends in a promontory formed by spatter cones. The site provides spectacular views of our anchorage in the bay, as well as Darwin and Wolf Volcanoes.
PM: In the afternoon we head north to Punta Vicente Roca. Snorkelling is incredible here as a result of the nutrient-rich waters of the Humboldt Current that bathe the western side of the archipelago. We will have a chance to see colourful fish, sea lions, penguins and sea turtles in the water. This is also a great spot to take an interesting panga ride to spot wildlife along the shores. (B, L, D).
Day 6 - Santiago
AM: Morning visit to Chinese Hat Islet, a fairly recent volcanic cone; it has the shape of a down-facing Chinese hat. On the rocky shoreline of nearby Santiago, Galapagos penguins are often seen. There is a small sea lion cove on the north shore, where boats anchor and land at the visitor site. Later snorkelling with sea lions and penguins and swimming opportunities in the cove.
PM: Afternoon visit to James Bay on Santiago, where we land on a black beach with intriguing eroded rock formations. A trail leads to a series of crystal-clear grottos formed of broken lava tubes, which are home to sea lions, fur seals, marine iguanas and tropical fish. Snorkeling in the late afternoon to at one of the best sites on the islands to see Green Sea Turtles and Galapagos Penguins swimming. (B, L, D).
Day 7 - Charles Darwin Research Station & Tortoise Reserve
AM: Santa Cruz is the second largest island in the Galapagos and its capital, Puerto Ayora, is the economic center of the Islands. In the morning we visit the Charles Darwin Research Station to visit the Giant Tortoise and Land Iguana Breeding and Rearing Program.
PM: Afternoon visit to the Highlands, where the dry coastal vegetation transitions to lush wet fields and forests overgrown with moss and lichens. Our destination is the Tortoise Reserve, where we will have chances see these animals in the wild. (B, L, D).
Day 8 - San Cristobal
AM: Today your Galapagos cruise comes to an end, but before we bid farewell to the Grace we visit the Galapagos National Park Visitor Centre that presents a comprehensive exhibit of the islands' natural history, human interaction, ecosystems, flora & fauna.
From the Centre, a short trail arrives at Frigate Bird Hill, where both "magnificent-frigates" and "great-frigates" can be seen in the same colony. Next we return to the airport where we began our journey in the Galapagos for the flight back to the Ecuadorian mainland. (B).
Beyond Darwin's Footsteps - 7 nights
Saturday to Saturday
Day 1 - Lobos Island
AM: The flight from Quito (via Guayaquil) to the Galapagos is approximately 1 ½ hours on a Boeing 727. Upon arrival at San Cristobal airport travelers pass through an airport inspection point to insure that no foreign plants or animals are introduced to the islands. Guides will meet you, collect your luggage and escort you on the short bus ride to the harbor. Motorized rafts, called 'Pangas' will transport you to the M/Y Grace and our crew will welcome you onboard. After a briefing and a light lunch the first site visit will start.
PM: Lobos Island, across a small channel off the coast of San Cristobal Island, lives up to its name of -Sea Lion Island- with its noisy population of frolicking and barking beasts. This is your first chance to share the water with a playful colony of the "wolves of the sea". From lobos we head to Kicker Rock, a spectacular rock formation that rises 152 meters (500 feet) out of the Pacific. It takes the form of a sleeping lion, but from another angle you can see that the rock is split, forming a colossal tablet and, piercing the sea, a great chisel ready for etching. After this visit you have time for a shower as we get ready for our welcome cocktail and our first formal briefing before dinner. (L, D).
Day 2 - Española
AM: Española Island is the southernmost island of the archipelago, and is one of the most popular due to the breathtaking variation and number of fauna that inhabit the island. In the morning we visit Punta Suarez where you will witness the largest variety of marine iguanas in the Galapagos, masked boobies and blue footed boobies nesting along the cliff's edge, as well as the famous waved albatross.
PM: In the afternoon we visit Gardner Bay, a magnificent long white sandy beach, where colonies of sea lions laze in the sun, sea turtles swim offshore, and inquisitive mockingbirds boldly investigate new arrivals. (B, L, D).
Day 3 - Floreana
AM: Floreana has had a colorful history: Pirates, whalers, convicts, and a small band of somewhat peculiar colonists-a Baroness among them-who chose a Robinson Crusoe existence that ended in mystery and death. We visit Post Office Bay, where in 1793 British whalers set up a barrel as the island's Post Office, to send letters home on passing ships. The tradition continues to this day, simply by dropping a post card into the barrel without a stamp. Late morning hike to the Asylum of Peace, the site of an artesian spring, one of the few year-round sources of fresh water in the Galapagos.
PM: In the afternoon we visit Cormorant Point which offers two highly contrasting beaches; a green-olivine beach and an iron-red beach. Between the two beaches is a salt lagoon frequented by flamingoes, pintails, stilts and other wading birds. In the late afternoon we head to the tiny islet known as Champion, considered one of the top snorkeling sites the Galapagos and offers prime underwater sea lion interactions. (B, L, D).
Day 4 - Dragon Hill & Santa Cruz Highlands
AM: After a dry landing at Dragon Hill, we head up the beach to a trail that takes us to a hyper saline lagoon. This is a seasonal haunt for pink flamingos. You will notice that as we make our way from the coast toward the top of the hill, there is a transition from intertidal vegetation like mangroves to dry zone vegetation including Palo Santo cactus and the silvery leafed Palo Santo trees. Keep your eyes open for the famous Darwin's Finches and Land iguanas in the bushes. The lava flows that reach out from the shore from Dragon Hill form black reefs where we will enjoy some excellent snorkeling late in the morning.
PM: In the afternoon we are off to the Highlands of Santa Cruz, where the dry coastal vegetation transitions to lush wet fields and forests overgrown with moss and lichens. Our destination is the Tortoise Reserve, where we will have chances see these animals in the wild, walk through lava tubes and see the Gemelos, twin collapsed craters. (B, L, D).
Day 5 - Las Bachas Beach & Chinese Hat Islet
AM: In the morning we visit Las Bachas, a sandy white-coral beach that is a major egg-laying site for sea turtles. The name Bachas refers to the remains of landing craft left here at the end of WWII. Ashore marine iguanas mingle with flamingos and other wading birds in another of the many super saline lagoons found in the Galapagos.
PM: In the afternoon we head north to Chinese Hat Islet, named for the resemblance its shape has to a traditional Chinese Coolie's hat. Our next visitor's site is off limits to larger groups and day boats, making it one of the least visited sites in the central islands. Our landing site is a tiny crescent shaped cove with sandy white beach cradled between black lava rocks and the crystal turquoise waters of the channel. A sea lion colony likes to rest on the warm white sands, while the rockier sections of the coast are alive with fiery colored sally lightfoot crabs. Marine iguanas sun themselves atop the rocks after foraging for algae in the channel. (B, L, D).
Day 6 - Raibida red beach & Santiago
AM: Rabida Island, also commonly known by its English name of Jervis Island, is known for its unique reddish-maroon terrain as a result of the oxidation of lava. It is home to large populations of sea lions, pelicans, flamingoes, as well as a thick forest of Palo Santo trees. A yellow saltwater lagoon is found behind the reddish beach, where vast numbers of brightly colored pink flamingoes can be seen lazying around male sea lions that have been ousted from their groups. Late morning snorkeling opportunity along the rocks with sea lions and tropical fish.
PM: Afternoon visit to Sullivan Bay, one of the most outstanding volcanic sites in the Galapagos. In the nearly 100 years since the Sullivan Bay Flow, only a few plants like Mollugo and Lava cacti have managed to take root in this harsh environment. Oystercatchers can be seen fishing for crabs and mollusks in the tide pools of Sullivan Bay. After exploring the lava flow, there is swimming and snorkeling with playful sea lions off two small coraline beaches. (B, L, D).
Day 7 - Isla Bartolome & North Seymour
AM: In the morning we visit Bartolome Island, famous for Pinnacle Rock, where we will see Galapagos Penguins and sea lions. We will also hike a trail to Bartolome's summit where you will be rewarded with spectacular views of Pinnacle Rock and our beach, where the crystal blue waters of the bay cradle your yacht.
PM: Afternoon visit to North Seymour, a good nesting site for frigate birds and Blue-footed boobies. The Island was lifted from the ocean floor by a seismic event, and its origins as a seabed give the island its low, flat profile. This island is teaming with life! You might have to give way to a passing sea lion or marine iguana; blue-footed booby nests sit beside the trail where mating pairs perform their courtship dance. A tiny forest of silver-grey Palo Santo trees stand just above the landing, usually without leaves, waiting for the rain to bring them into bloom. (B, L, D).
Day 8 - Mosquera Islet & Return
AM: Today your Galapagos cruise comes to an end, but before we bid farewell to the Grace we visit Mosquera Islet, located between North Seymour and Baltra. It is one of the smallest Islands resulting from an uplift of sand, made up of coral reefs and rocks. It boasts one of the largest sea lion colonies in the Galapagos archipelago. There are occasional reports of Orca whales seen praying on the sea lion colony. It is also home to many sea birds which is an excellent site for observing shorebirds. Next we return to the airport where we began our journey in the Galapagos for the flight back to the Ecuadorian mainland. (B).
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