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Galapagos Islands

March 9, 2019 - March 22, 2019

$11922

 

Dive into the Galapagos Island with Shellharbour Scuba Centre – we guarantee an adventure you’ll never forget.

 

The “Enchanted Islands” of Galápagos are found in the Pacific Ocean, 926 kilometres west of Ecuador. 720 km to the North is Cocos Island and to the south is Easter Island and San Felix Island at 3,200 km. The Galápagos archipelago is composed of 13 main islands, 7 smaller islands, and many rocks and islets. The islands and their surrounding waters form an Ecuadorian province.

There are many wonders to discover in the Galápagos both above and below the water. Its geographical location at the confluence of three ocean currents makes the Galápagos one of the richest marine ecosystems in the world. Ongoing seismic and volcanic activity reflects the processes that formed the islands. These processes, together with the extreme isolation of the islands, has lead to the development of unusual and rare plant and animal life.

In 1959, 97.5% of the archipelago’s total surface (7,665,100 ha) was declared a National Park and in 1978, UNESCO designated Galápagos as the first World Heritage site. The Galápagos are home to some of the highest levels of endemism (species found nowhere else on earth) on the planet. About 80% of the land birds, 97% of the reptiles and land mammals, more than 30% of the plants and more than 20% of the marine species seen in Galápagos are endemic. Favorites include the giant Galapagos tortoise, marine iguana (the only lizard to swim in the ocean), flightless cormorant, red footed booby, and the Galapagos penguin — the only penguin species to be found in the Northern Hemisphere.

The indigenous animals are unusually tame due to lack of predation and many years of protection, making a visit to Galápagos such a memorable experience as you really will have up close encounters with the wildlife.

The Charles Darwin Foundation (CDF), an international non-governmental organisation (NGO) constituted in Belgium, whose core responsibility is to conduct research and provide research findings to the government for effective management of Galápagos, was also founded in 1959. The Charles Darwin Research Station was established on Santa Cruz Island in 1964. Originally the research station personnel conducted the conservation programmes to protect the native species but now much of the work is completed by the Galápagos National Park based on findings and methodologies developed by the CDF.

The islands are also surrounded by the Galápagos Marine Reserve which was created in 1986 (70,000 km2) and extended to its current area (133,000 km2) in 1998, making it one of the largest marine reserves in the world, second only in size to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

Bookings close at 12:41pm on Friday, March 8th, 2019