six hundred miles off the coast of ecuador, darwin's
fantasy-come-true still bursts with life, and there may be no
better way to see the galápagos and its wild offerings than by
kayak. sign on with explorers' corner and you will meander through
the galápagos isles - singsong places like isabela, fernandina, and
isla espanola - in a luxurious catamaran, then depart this mobile
base to explore the islands, naturalist in hand, by kayak, which
allows access to places most galápagos visitors never see. along
the way you could happen upon penguins, fur seals, marine iguanas,
enormous turtles, and, frankly, who knows what else. nearly half
the galápagos birds and insects, 32 percent of the plants, and 90
percent of the reptiles exist nowhere else. wrote herman melville,
"i know not whether i am not the occasional victim of optical
delusion regarding the galápagos." see for yourself. cost for the
10-day trip is $3,550; price does not include the
mainland-to-galápagos charter flight and $100 park entrance fee.
southern right whales
explore the beautifully rugged southern argentine coast of
patagonia - and the nursery ground and sanctuary for the majestic
southern right whale - via kayak. there is no more intimate mode of
marine travel, and whitney & smith legendary expeditions puts
you smack dab in the middle of a marine sanctuary fat with life.
not only will you be able to paddle within feet of 50-foot right
whales, if timing and luck are with you, you'll also get equally
intimate with elephant seals, dusky dolphins, and transient orcas.
for added wild measure, you'll see dozens of birds - from penguins
(the trip visits a penguin colony) to plovers. but it is the
endangered right whales that steal the show and capture your heart.
to lie on a night beach listening to their resonating blows is to
be touched and changed forever. the 14-day trip, which begins and
ends in buenos aires, is $3,900. www.legendaryex.com