Whale viewing from ship

Whale Spotting from our Balcony

Posted By : Morgan Gibson/ 0 0

It was day four of our Alaskan Cruise and I sat luxuriating on our private balcony, drinking a glass of wine, and admiring the rugged beauty of the snow-capped mountains that lined the horizon.

Gazing over the railing , I mentally reviewed the wildlife we had been fortunate enough to spot so far: Noble bald eagles soaring with amazing grace, the black bear who wandered across our path during a drizzly ride to the Mendenhall Glacier and a  playful otter we spotted out for a swim in Sewards port. Abruptly my thoughts were interrupted. An orca spectacularly breached the ocean, propelling itself high into the air and then crashing back down with a tremendous splash.  It was so exciting!  We had been waiting to see a whale! It really made our trip complete! My husband came out and joined me on the balcony and we sat and watched the whale play. Amazing!




Photo credit:  Holland America

Galapagos Turtles

When to explore the Galapagos Islands

Posted By : Courtney Anderson/ 1066 0

So, you’ve chosen the next destination to cross off that ever growing Bucket List – The Galapagos!  The Galapagos Islands are considered one of the world’s foremost destinations for wildlife-viewing and each of the islands is as diverse as the wildlife you will find there.

You may have decided on the Galapagos with hopes of seeing the hatching of the giant tortoise’s eggs, or you want to be able to boast that you snorkeled with the penguins or were able to observe the awesome display of the blue-footed boobies beginning their courtship rituals. These all happen at different times of the year, with this in mind Celebrity Cruises has developed their Galapagos Wildlife Calendar to make sure you don’t miss out on the wildlife experience you’ve dreamed of.
• Land birds start nesting, generally after the first rain
• On Hood (Española) Island adult marine iguanas become brightly colored (green & red + black)
• The green sea turtles arrive to beaches in the Galapagos for egg laying period
• Land iguanas begin reproductive cycles on Isabela Island
• Both, water and air temperatures rise and stay warm until June
• Ideal time for snorkeling

• On Floreana Island greater flamingos start nesting
• Bahama pintail ducks (Black-tailed pintail) start their breeding season
• Nazca (masked) boobies on Hood are at the end of their nesting season
• Marine iguanas nest on Santa Cruz Island
• Nesting season of the Galapagos dove reaches its peak

• Marine iguanas nest on Fernandina
• March 21st, the beginning of the summer equinox signals the arrival of the waved albatross to Española.
• Even the western islands have warm waters where snorkeling is excellent. Penguins still active in the water,
next to tropical fish! (How bizarre!)
• Marine life is very active.

• Massive arrival of waved albatrosses to Española. Amazing courtship starts.
• End of hatching season of the giant tortoises
• Eggs of green sea turtles begin to hatch
• Eggs of land iguanas hatch on Isabela
• Good visibility in the water for snorkelers

• North Seymour’s blue-footed boobies begin their courtship
• Sea turtles are still hatching on Gardner Bay, Punta Cormorant, and Puerto Egas
• Most of marine iguanas’ eggs hatch from nests on Santa Cruz
• Palo santo trees begin to shed their foliage
• Waved albatross on Española start laying their eggs
• Ban-rumped storm petrels begin their first nesting period

• Beginning of the garúa season
• Giant tortoises on Santa Cruz Island migrate from the highlands to the lowlands in search of suitable nesting places
• Beginning of the nesting season of giant tortoises
• Many red pouches by males of Magnificent Frigatebirds on North Seymour.
• Southern migrants have started their journey towards the north. Galapagos is a rest stop for such birds.  Some species of cetaceans also follow this pattern of migration.
• Some groups of Humpback whales that migrate up to equatorial latitudes along the coast of Ecuador, can reach the Galapagos too.

• Sea bird communities are very active (breeding), specially the Blue footed boobies on Española.
• Flightless cormorants perform beautiful courtship rituals and nesting activities on Fernandina.
• Along the shores of Puerto Egas (Santiago Island) you could find American oystercatchers nesting.
• Lava lizards initiate mating rituals until November
• Whales & dolphins are more likely to be observed, especially off the western coast of Isabela
• Great month to see the four stages of nesting in Blue footed boobies: eggs, chicks, juveniles & subadults.

• Galapagos hawks court on Española and Santiago
• Nazca (masked) boobies and Swallow-tailed gulls nest on Genovesa Island
• Migrant shore birds start to arrive, and stay on the islands until March
• Giant tortoises return to the highlands of Santa Cruz
• Pupping season (births) of sea lions has started. Western and central islands are common places for such sightings.

• Galapagos Penguins show remarkable activity on Bartolome.
• Since May swimmers and snorkelers can be delighted at Bartolome with penguins active at the surface or
torpedo-like while underwater.
• Sea lions are very active. Females have reached estrus stage, and so harem-gathering males are constantly barking
and fighting. Shore fighting is heavy. Western and central islands are the most active ones in terms of sea lions’ activities.
• Most species of sea birds remain quite active at their nesting sites.

• Lava herons start nesting until March
• The Galapagos Fur Seals (subspecies of Sea lions) begin their mating period
• Blue footed boobies raise chicks all over Española and Punta Vicente Roca (Isabela)
• Giant tortoises are still laying eggs
• Sunrises in the west can be quite beautiful after the garúa covers only certain locations of the western volcanoes.

• Pupping of sea lions continue.
• Sea lions are sexually active on the eastern part of the archipelago.
• Breeding season for the brown noddies
• Some species of jellyfish can be seen around the islands.
• Band-rumped storm petrels begin their second nesting period
• Sea lion pups (specially at Champion Islet) play aqua-aerobics next to snorkelers. Most pups here are curious
enough to nibble at fins of snorkelers. The average age of most pups is 3-4 months.

• Hatching of giant tortoise’s eggs begins and lasts until April
• Green sea turtles display their mating behavior
• The first young waved albatrosses fledge