The Good Ship Cachalote

NOTE: Since this website was written, the Cachalote has been extensively remodeled. She has been lengthened and now carries 16 passengers in eight air conditioned double cabins, and has been rechristened the Cachalote I. When we acquire new photos we will re-do this website. In the meantime, the photos below still give you a feel for life aboard the Cachalote I. But for up-to-date specs and other info, visit Enchanted Expeditions website at Enchanted Expeditions.

Her name means "Sperm Whale". She is a 70 ft long, steel hulled, ketch-rigged yacht, of 18 ft beam, built in California in 1971, and she is beautiful. She can move under sail, and the sails are commonly deployed during cruises. But she normally moves under engine power produced by a 280 h.p. Caterpillar diesel. Electricity is supplied by 7.5 and 20 kw generators for 220 and 110 A.C., and 12 volt D.C. Other equipment includes 24 mile radar, VHS and SSB marine radios, depth sounder, freezer and refrigerator, desalinator, and a tender with outboard motor.

The Cachalote is manned by a captain, bilingual park naturalist-guide, 2 sailors, and cook (the most popular crewman of all). She carries 10 passengers in five 2-bunk cabins: four aft cabins and one forward cabin next to the captain's cabin.

The Cachalote is small, but she has the lines of a thoroughbred, and is a joy to behold. Her size can be an advantage, allowing her to sail where some of the large, deep-draft cruise vessels cannot go. Although Galápagos waters are generally so calm that even small vessels suffer little pitch and roll, the Cachalote also has the advantage of having sails which can be deployed to steady her, if needed. She is not a luxury vessel. Although the forward passenger cabin has its own small head, the four aft cabins share two heads. The aft cabins are air conditioned, and each bunk is also equipped with a small electric fan.

The main salon of the Cachalote is where meals are served, where the park naturalist gives briefings before each day's activities, and where passengers relax between landings. A small shipboard library is maintained to provide passengers with information on the archipelago, its history, and its fabulous wildlife. A self-service bar is available, on the honor system, with cold drinks, beer, and liquor.

When passengers are not in their cabins or relaxing in the main salon, they are generally found on the forward deck, catching some sun as the scenery glides by, readying their gear for the next outing, writing in their trip journals, and socializing.

A more exciting perch to ride is in the bownet, the best vantage point for watching the dolphins play in the clear water below.

A collection of snorkels, masks and swim fins is always on board for the use of the passengers. However, as snorkeling is such an important part of any Galápagos cruise it is highly recommended that passengers bring their own snorkeling gear to insure that they have properly fitting equipment. Scuba diving can also be done on Cachalote cruises, but must be arranged in advance with the tour operator.

A small photo gallery of the Cachalote

Photos on this website by Janie and Ric Finch, @copyrighted.