Sailing on the M/Y Sulidae

Ever play at being a pirate? Or sailing with Jason and the Argonauts? The romance of an ancient sailing vessel --without the storms and dangers, scurvy and backbreaking work-- can be yours, sailing the Galápagos Islands aboard the venerable Sulidae. This wooden-hulled, gaff-rigged ketch began her maritime career in 1901 as a fishing vessel built in Denmark. She has a 90 foot LOA, on a 60 foot hull with a 16 foot beam. That she was built by craftsmen is evident in the fact that she is still sailing, sound as the day she was launched. She has been lovingly restored and modernized to include motor power and modern safety features. But she still looks like she should be flying the Jolly Roger and commanded by Captain Hook!

Looking forward from the deck wheel, one expects to see Errol Flynn come swinging in on one of the shrouds, cutlass clinched between his teeth. But one is more likely to see, amongst the various appurtenances of a working sailing vessel, sunbathing travelers, relaxing between visits to the islands.

Below decks the Sulidae is kept spotless and immaculate. The expression "shipshape" assumes its true meaning where space is at a premium and everything has its proper place. Here we see the dining salon, where excellent meals are served out of an amazingly tiny galley. Note the steep steps in the companionway descending from topside into the dining salon; the Sulidae requires a bit of agility! Here is a glimpse of one of the cabins.

The Sulidae's modernization includes motive power by a new 220 HP Caterpillar diesel, modern radio communications, radar, GPS plotter, depth sounder and other safety devices. She carries 12 passengers in 6 double cabins distributed about the ship, and is served by a crew of five. There are 5 toilets and 5 showers. She carries two desalinators to ensure an ample supply of sweetwater.

Of course the Sulidae carries a small motorboat or panga to get travelers ashore at visitors' sites and to take guests snorkeling. Scuba diving can also be done from the Sulidae (at extra charge per dive, and arrangements should be made in advance of the cruise).

All in all, it has to be said that the Sulidae is a very special ship, for special people. She generates an uncommon comraderie, and she has her fans who return for second and third voyages. But she is not for everyone; if you require too many luxuries, the Sulidae is not for you.


To learn how to book a Galápagos cruise at a savings, click here: Galapagos cruise.