Location: Galapagos Islands
Duration: 10 nights / 11 days
Group Size: Max 13
Level of fitness required: Easy
Tatra Photography is inviting you to join them on a photography tour you will never forget. Our planet is home to some extraordinary places, but none can quite compare to the Galapagos Islands. Located in the eastern Pacific Ocean, just off the west coast of South America, The Galapagos Islands are made-up of 18 volcanic islands and over 100 islets. The scenery is beautiful, characterized by volcanic peaks, lava fields, white sandy beaches and crystal clear waters. However, as stunning as it is, it’s not the Island’s scenery that is its main draw – instead, it is its extraordinary wildlife.
Due to their isolation, the wildlife on each of the remote islands evolved independently, adapting individually to their environment. The wildlife here is like nothing else on earth and inspired Darwin’s theory of evolution during the voyage of the Beagle. During this Tatra Photography workshop, we too will be able to visit and explore the different Islands, witnessing and photographing the unique wildlife – for example, marine iguanas, flightless cormorants, tiny penguins, graceful tropicbirds and the giant tortoise. The wildlife residing here have little fear of humans, meaning often you can get within touching distance – resulting in unique opportunities for photography. It really isn’t hard to understand why the Galapagos is on so many peoples ‘bucket list’ – visiting the Islands is quite literally the experience of a lifetime.
In the company of a local guide, we will explore the Galapagos’ archipelago Islands and take photos of its amazing natural history at every opportunity. We will tour the Galapagos on our own luxury cruise ship and when not on the Islands, there will be time to relax, swim and snorkel. During the workshop, you will be in the capable hands of two of the UK’s best professional natural history photographers – Ben Hall and Ross Hoddinott. Ben is best known for its extraordinary images of birds, while Ross is a close-up specialist. Between them, they offer participants a wide, varying range of skills and expertise – perfectly suited to the range of subjects we will be seeing and photographing during the tour. With two tutors on one course, each guest is guaranteed lots of one-to-one tuition in the field and advice on how to produce wow-factor wildlife shots. Its an opportunity too good to miss.
Your tutors for this workshop are Ben Hall & Ross Hoddinott. Ben is one of Britain’s foremost wildlife photographers. His personal approach to nature photography lies in the creative art of ‘seeing’. His aim is to use his pictures to communicate his personal vision, to generate an emotional response and to excite the viewer’s aesthetic sensitivity. He is described by “Living Edge” magazine as ‘a passionate and experienced wildlife photographer, with a perfectionist’s eye for detail’. Ben’s work is represented by Getty images, RSPB Images and Naturepl and is sold worldwide.
Ben specialises in bird and mammal photography and has won numerous international awards including category wins in the British Wildlife Photography Awards and the Windland Smith Rice International Awards. In 2009 he was named ‘Geographical’ Photographer of the Year. He is a regular contributor to clients as diverse as BBC Wildlife, PhotoPlus magazine, Digital SLR User, Photography Monthly and many more. He has appeared on numerous radio and television programmes including BBC’s Walk on The Wild Side and is a member of the 2020VISION photo team. Ben has just finished writing his first book, Wildlife Photography Workshop, which he co-authored with Ross Hoddinott.
From an early age, Ross has had a passion for the outdoors. His parents introduced him to photography when he was aged 10 and Ross immediately began photographing the wildlife and scenery near their home in north Cornwall. In 1990, he won ‘BBC Countryfile’s’ junior flora and fauna category in their annual photo competition and by the time he won the ‘Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year’ competition a few years later, Ross had decided to pursue a career in photography.
Now aged 33, Ross is established as one of the UK’s leading outdoor photographers. He is a regular contributor to a number of magazines, including ‘Outdoor Photography’ and ‘Digital SLR Photography’, and his work is published widely. He is multi award winner in the prestigious ‘Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition’ and was named ‘British Wildlife Photographer of the Year in 2009’. He is also a commended photographer in the ‘Take-A-View’ Landscape Photographer of the Year Competition. He is contracted to NaturePL picture agency and the National Trust are among his clients. Ross is an experienced tutor and has also written several books on photography, including ‘The Digital Photographer’s Guide to Filters’, ‘The Digital Exposure Handbook’ and ‘The Landscape Photography Workshop’.
The Athala II is a luxury catamaran providing a stable and comfortable cruising experience around the Galapagos Islands. It has been completely refurbished in October 2011 making it one of the newest and most luxurious boats in the Galapagos.We will have a dedicated cruise director and top naturalist guide for a personalised Galapagos cruise experience. The ship has eight twin/double staterooms located on two decks, the Athala II offers extensive public areas. With the archipelago being such a dream destination for outdoor and nature enthusiasts there is plenty of outside space including a large sundeck, an open-air bar and an al fresco dining area where you can take in the islands’ spectacular scenery while enjoying a delicious meal. The sundeck is great for whale and dolphin spotting or relaxing in the Jacuzzi. In the evening there is no better place for stargazing.
Each cabin average 175 square feet (16 square metres) and has two picture windows so that guests may enjoy spectacular Galapagos views. All cabins use 110 Volts, while 220 Volt electrical outlets are only available in the lounge and al fresco area. Cabins have a private safety deposit box, a one-time, fully-stocked complimentary mini-bar and rooms on the Upper Deck are interconnected. The spacious bathrooms consist of a shower, toilet, sink, cabinet, hairdryer and amenities created especially for the boat.
Being a small and exclusive catamaran the Head Chef can cater to any special dietary requirements when advised in advance and according to the availability of products in Ecuador. His creative and individual approach to our group makes the culinary experience a special one.
The Athala II has a spacious outside deck area at the stern of the vessel for relaxing breakfasts, lunches and dinners. You can enjoy the beautiful sites of the Galapagos while savouring carefully designed menus that can be tailored to your tastes and needs.
During short and long Galapagos cruises you will be able to enjoy BBQ’s with freshly caught fish and delicious meats and grilled vegetables. With perfectly prepared local and international dishes, you can sit back and take in the view.
Day 1 – SATURDAY- ARRIVAL IN GALAPAGOS
Overnight: Athala II
Arrive at the airport in Baltra & be transferred to the dock. Check-in to your cabin before attending an introductory briefing & safety drill. Lunch on board before taking a Panga ride to Mosquera Islet. Mosquera Islet is a tiny islet, home to a huge population of sea lions and also home to many shorebirds. While at Mosquera, keep your eyes peeled, as there are occasional reports of dolphins and orcas. Return to the boat for a welcome cocktail and dinner.
Day 2 – SUNDAY – SANTIAGO & BARTOLOME ISLANDS
Overnight: Athala II
Breakfast will be on board before disembarking at Sullivan Bay for a hike and snorkel before returning on board for lunch. After lunch visit Bartolome Island for an excursion. Bartolome is a small island that has two visitor sites. At the first site, you can snorkel around Pinnacle Rock, where penguins are usually seen. Then, it’s back on board for a quick change of clothes followed by a short dinghy ride for a climb to the highest point on the island or a panga ride if you prefer. On the way up, you will encounter different volcanic formations, including spatter and tuff cones, lava flow and lava tubes. Return on board for dinner.
Day 3 – MONDAY – ISABELA ISLAND
Overnight: Athala II
Breakfast on board before disembarking at Urbina Bay for an excursion. Urbina Bay is located in western Isabela, at the foot of Alcedo volcano where you may be able to observe sea turtles nesting. You may also see wild roaming Galapagos tortoises which like to feed within the site’s dense vegetation. After lunch visit Tagus Cove for a power hike, panga ride of kayaking before returning for dinner on board. While exploring the channel between Fernandina and Isabela Islands, we sometimes encounter dolphins and whales.
Day 4 – TUESDAY – FERNANDINA & ISABELA ISLANDS
Overnight: Athala II
After breakfast visit Punta Espinoza, Fernandina Island where you can snorkel before lunch. Punta Espinoza is a narrow piece of land where some of the most unique Galapagos species can be seen, including the flightless cormorant. After lunch take a panga ride along Punta Vicente Roca or deep water snorkel before returning for dinner on board. Punta Vicente Roca is a great snorkelling site, where you can usually see turtles as well as all kinds of fish and a panga ride will give you the opportunity to study some of the Galapagos’ spectacular geological rock formations.
Day 5 – WEDNESDAY – SANTIAGO ISLAND
Overnight: Athala II
Breakfast on board followed by a wet landing at Puerto Egas, Santiago Island where you can swim and snorkel. Puerto Egas has tidal pools which are home to organisms, including sea urchins, octopus and starfish. After lunch visit Espumilla Beach for hike, panga ride, swimming or snorkelling before dinner. The Palo Santo forest at Espumilla has some of the tallest specimens of plant species in the entire archipelago. Also look out for the Galapagos Hawk as well as Darwin’s finches. The beach is an important site for nesting marine turtles.
Day 6 – THURSDAY – SANTA CRUZ ISLAND
Overnight: Athala II
Have breakfast on board and disembark for your transfer from the yacht to Puerto Ayora and visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station accompanied by a guide. On your visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station you will gain insight into the huge efforts being made by scientists, guides, rangers and park managers to preserve this UNESCO World Heritage Site. You will see the famous Galapagos tortoises that are the islands’ namesake. Afterwards take a bus ride to the highlands of Santa Cruz to see wild giant tortoises. Return on board for lunch followed by an afternoon at leisure before dinner on board.
Day 7 – FRIDAY – GENOVESA ISLAND
Overnight: Athala II
Breakfast on board followed by a dry landing at El Barranco on Genovesa Island for kayaking or panga ride. El Barranco is a steep path with stairs carved into the rock which leads to a plateau full of bird life amongst a Palo Santo forest. Lunch will be served on board before a wet landing and excursion at Darwin Bay Beach. Darwin Bay’s soft, coralline white sand is only the beginning of a spectacular excursion. A trail from the beach takes you into lush mangroves where red footed boobies nest. Snorkeling is a must here as sharks, colorful reef fish, rays and tortoises are common. Enjoy some beach time, snorkel or panga ride before returning on board for a farewell cocktail and dinner.
Day 8 – SATURDAY – NORTH SEYMOUR ISLAND & DEPARTURE
Overnight: Depart the Galapagos
Before breakfast take an optional short hike at North Seymour Island. North Seymour may very well be the perfect way to say goodbye to the Galapagos Islands. Although the island is characterized by arid vegetation, fauna abounds and you will soon find yourself surrounded by frigates, blue footed boobies, land iguanas and more. After breakfast take your luggage out and vacate cabins before snacks in the al fresco dining area. Disembark for airport transfer.
All monies paid by you for the air holiday package shown are ATOL protected by the Civil Aviation Authority. Our ATOL number is ATOL 6404. For more information see our booking terms and conditions.