Archive for the ‘GALAPAGOS ISLANDS’ Category

357 Sharks illegally captured in the Galapagos Islands   1 comment

Original Spanish news source: Parque Nacional Galapagos (PNG)

A Total of 357 sharks were counted aboard the ‘Fer Mary I’

357 sharks were found aboard the FER MARY I

Technicians and authorities of the Galapagos National Park (DPNG), Navy, National Police conducted an inspection of the fishing boat ‘Fer Mary I’ detained for illegal fishing in the Galapagos Islands.

The ‘Fer Mary I’ and its six smaller fishing boats were detained 20 miles within the archipelago, to the east of the northern island of Genovesa, by the Galapagos National Park boat ‘Sea Ranger 02’ – with assistance from the Ecuadorian Navy.  The captured vessel was escorted to the port town of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno (San Cristobal Island) in the evening.

The smaller vessels detained accompanying the ‘Fer Mary I’ were F/M Siempre Virgen de Monserrate, F/M Narcisa de Jesús, F/M Keyla Yeannely, F/M Heyder Josue, F/M Nuevo Destino II and F/M Siempre José.

At 17h30 local authorities conducted inspections to identify the catch aboard.  The final inventory determined the following: 357 sharks, 11 dorados, 9 albacores & 1 sword fish.  The species of shark identified were:

  • 286 Bigeye Thresher (Alopias superciliosus);
  • 22 Blue sharks (Prionace glauca);
  • 40 Galapagos sharks (Carcharinus galapaguensis);
  • 6 Hammerhead sharks (Sphyrna lewini);
  • 2 Tiger sharks (Galeocerdo cuvieri);
  • 1 Mako shark (Isurus oxirrinchus)
The Galapagos National Park authorities have initiated the respective legal and administrative processes to determine the corresponding sanctions, destination planned for vessels etc.
The Galapagos Marine Reserve prohibits the capture, commercialization and transportation of sharks.

Santa Fe Islands temporarily closed from June 5th to 7th 2011   Leave a comment

According to the latest Galapagos National Park resolution (No.033-2011) the island of Santa Fe will be closed off from June 5th to 7th, 2011.

According to the resolution, this temporary closure of Santa Fe Island is to realize a monitor/study of emblematic species such such as iguanas, rats, marine birds, Opuntia cactus, species in danger and other aspects of the current conditions on th island.

Boats that are scheduled to visit this island during this period (June 5th to 7th 2011) will visit the Fausto Llerena Breeding Center.

Galapagos Islands Tourist Boat Gets Stranded   3 comments

April 27, 2011

Having picked up on unconfirmed and very vague news (via local television) that a vessel in the Galapagos Islands got stranded off the coast of Isabela Island, I started to get my feelers out there.

As I keep my ears to the ground, I have managed to ascertain & confirm with the direct operator of this vessel (Eric) that indeed there was a minor incident that occurred off the coast of Isabela Island, causing the boat to get “stranded” (the actual Spanish term used was varado). All passengers and crew were efficiently and safely removed from the vessel without any incidents.

The boat will apparently be out of commission for approximately one month to make the necessary repairs.

Details on this particular boat [LINK]

Galapagos Islands Tourist Boat ‘Eric’Gets Stranded


April 28th update (original Spanish article in El Universo)
“Galapagos boat ran aground with 31 people”

The tourist boat Eric, carrying 31 people on board, including 20 passengers and 11 crew, ran aground early yesterday morning in Punta Cordova, north of Santiago Island in the Galapagos archipelago.

Until the closure of this edition the ship remained trapped in a rocky area where it ran aground at 01:15, said Lt. Edwin Aguilar, in charge of the Port Captain of the island of Baltra, who said the incident caused no injuries .

The strandings took place because of  “fatigue” of the crew, said Aguilar, as they did not realize what could occur in this rocky area.

But at the moment a final report is pending, said the official.

“At the moment we take steps in saving human lives”, citing Aguilar.

Passenger in hotel …

The 20 passengers on board were brought to Puerto Ayora (Santa Cruz Island), where they were staying in an undisclosed hotel, whose name was not released by the officer.

Meanwhile, efforts to remove the ship, about 25 meters (length), were unsuccessful. During the day, the work of the Port Captain of Baltra and the National Directorate of Aquatic Areas (DIRNEA) focused on “lightening” the boat to get out of the site.  This involves removing heavy objects such as furniture and other combustible materials.  For this purpose, several barges are being used.

Towing the vessel pending …

At 18:00, Aguilar said they would wait until 23:00 to try to tow the boat, because at that time the tide would be high. “If not, between 10:00 and 11:00 tomorrow (today, April 28th),” quoted the officer.

According to sources,  the boat (Eric) left Puerto Baquerizo Moreno (San Cristobal Island) on Monday.  A few hours before the grounding the boat sailed from the northern island of Genovesa in the direction of Puerto Egas on Santiago Island, east of Isabela Island.

Staff of the Galapagos National Park (GNP) also went into action at the site of the accident to realize a report of what happened. Meanwhile, relevant official authorities – which control the operation of tourism companies – realized that the registration of the ship is TN-00-00123.

Fuel costs for certain Galapagos Islands vessels to increase 30%   Leave a comment

You probably have already heard the news, the Ecuadorian government has announced new measures effective this month (April 2011) that will increase the cost of diesel nearly 30% only for certain vessels operating in the Galapagos Islands.

We will keep readers up to date as official, confirmed details become available.  In addition, we will inform readers which Galapagos Islands cruise operators are directly effected and the associated measure they are taking.

For example, the operators of the sister boats Eric, LEtty, Flamingo have just communicated the following …

You probably have already heard the news, the Ecuadorian government has announced new measures effective this month that will increase the cost of diesel nearly 30% only for certain vessels operating in the Galapagos Islands.  Instead of tacking on a “fuel surcharge” (we abhor that word and assume you do as well), and in an effort not to pass along additional costs to the consumer, we at Ecoventura prefer to revise the structure of our promotions offered going forward. Additional savings has been eliminated entirely, some departure dates have been removed and the amount of discounts have been reduced. All confirmed reservations are locked in and have received a really good deal by booking early. All cabins under option have until April 12 to confirm and receive the former discounts.

TAME airline increases flight rates for Galapagos Islands flights   Leave a comment

As is quite often the case here in Ecuador, it is not uncommon to get wind of official changes in regulations after the fact.  Much as is currently occurring with the ‘new’ national transit laws.  This is also the case with recent changes (apparently took effect on March 31st, 2011) that were made available today (April 7th, 2011).

According to official information from TAME airline, they have changed the rates for thier flights to/from the Galapagos Islands. Up until this date, all airline tickets were classified as ‘Y’ (or Yankie) class – both for high and low season flights.  Now TAME airline has dropped class ‘Y’ and replacing it for class ‘B’ (or Bravo) and class ‘W’ (or Whiskey) in high season, and class ‘H’ (or Hotel) in low season.  Furthermore, TAME airline now only considers the months of July, August & December as high season.

In addition, TAME airline is now charging penalty fees for such things as change of date, change of name etc.

It appears that one set rate is applied to low season flights (much like in the past) but for high season flights one of two tariffs will be applied (class ‘B’ or class ‘W’) depending on availability.

Here is how the fees pan out ….

HIGH SEASON: July, August & December


QUITO – GALAPAGOS – QUITO $418 (*B) / $463 (*W) $286 (*B) / $315 (*W)
QUITO – GALAPAGOS – GUAYAQUIL $395 (*B) / $440 (*W) $270 (*B) / $300 (*W)
GUAYAQUIL – GALAPAGOS – QUITO $393 (*B) / $438 (*W) $267 (*B) / $298 (*W)
GUAYAQUIL – GALAPAGOS – GUAYAQUIL $370 (*B) / $415 (*W) $252 (*B) / $283 (*W)
High season classes: (B) = SEAT CLASS B / (W) = SEAT CLASS WNOTES 

(a) Seat class subject to availability (*)
(b) ‘Child’ is anyone under 12 years of age / ‘Adult’ is anyone over 12 years of age.
(c) Copies of passports are required by airline for all passengers (adults & children).
(d) Rates do not include USD $10 per airline ticket issue fee charged by airline.
(e) Flight rates are subject to change without prior notice. 

(f)  USD $30 penalty for change of date
(g) USD $50 penalty for change in name
(h) USD $50 penalty for reimbursement refund

UPDATED: APRIL 7th, 2011

LOW SEASON: January, February, March, April, May, June, September, October & November


QUITO – GALAPAGOS – QUITO $373 (H) $254 (H)

Low season class: (H) = SEAT CLASS H


(a) ‘Child’ is anyone under 12 years of age / ‘Adult’ is anyone over 12 years of age.
(b) Copies of passports are required by airline for all passengers (adults & children).
(c) Rates do not include USD $10 per airline ticket issue fee charged by airline.
(d) Flight rates are subject to change without prior notice.
(e) USD $30 penalty for change of date
(f)  USD $50 penalty for change in name
(g) USD $50 penalty for reimbursement refund

UPDATED: APRIL 7th, 2011

Tsunami alert for Galapagos Islands & Ecuador: Continuous updates   3 comments

Tsunami alert Galapagos Ecuador

For news, details and updates on the tsunami alert in effect for Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands …

please go to live updating page

Galapagos Islands news: Rabida Island temporarily closed (Jan.7 – 28/11)   1 comment

According to Resolution no.0071 issued by the Galapagos Islands National Park Directive on December 30th, 2010, the Island of Rabida will be temporarily closed to tourists from January 7th through to January 28th, 2011.

De acuerdo a la resolución 0071 emitida por la Dirección del Parque Nacional Galápagos con fecha 30.12.10, se dispone el cierre temporal para uso turístico del sitio de visita Rábida durante el periodo 07 al 28 de enero del 2011.

BBC GALAPAGOS ‘Born of Fire’   Leave a comment

The BBC does a spectacular job of capturing the Galapagos Islands in their series, “Galapagos: Born of Fire’.

Part 1 ….

Posted November 19, 2010 by sangay in GALAPAGOS ISLANDS, PHOTOGRAPHY & IMAGES

Galapagos Islands .. it’s the wildlife that stands out   Leave a comment

One of the major highlights of any visit to the Galapagos Islands – and most that have already been will agree –  is the wide variety of fascinating and seemingly fearless wildlife.  For this reason a fancy telephoto lens is not absolutely necessary (with the exception of such birds as the Galapagos hawk) when taking your personal photographs of the interesting animals.

I still fondly remember my first visit to the Island over ten years ago …. and particularly remember how most of the wildlife seemed oblivious to the presence of human tourists – almost as if they had been trained to go about their daily activities in almost complete ignorance of the presence of daily tourists walking the various marked trails of the Galapagos Islands.

Some creatures (males Sea lions pop to mind) actually have turned the table, so to speak. It is not unknown for male sea lions to assert their dominance by occasionally trying to chase or herd tourists along the trails and away from their territory. I had a similar experience while snorkeling …. a male sea lion chased me off a secluded beach I had drifted on to and started to nip and nibble at my fins as I calmly (but rather quickly) made my way back out to sea.

Other situations frequently occur with such creatures as the Espanola Mockingbird, which are know renowned for landing on your arm (or any convenient spot) to try and drink water from your water bottle as you meander down the trail. Some land iguanas on (South) Plazas, for example, almost crawl over your hand while seated on a rock as you listen intently to your guide goes through a discourse about cactus, evolution or the such.

Posted November 16, 2010 by sangay in GALAPAGOS ISLANDS, PHOTOGRAPHY & IMAGES

We make your Galapagos Islands experience …. stand out.   1 comment

A recent Trip Advisor ( message in the South America / Ecuador / forum [link to original comment] back ups our efforts and mandates …

I just recently used SANGAY TOURS (Robin Slater) out of Quito.This firm has what it takes and Alejandro was so helpful, never missed an email responded at night and over week end fast response to my Problems, Conflicts, Lateness ect. I booked a cruise for the 2oth starting on the 10th and he helped from what ever I neede.”Lots of questions no decisions and ebverything was a panic on my end,

TOTALLY proffessional Know their end of the business!

These guys are so patient and professional They take care of you.

YOU. tell alejandro Laurie Rodgers sent you!!!!

I HIGHLY RECOMMEND this firm Sangay Tours.any questions

Posted November 16, 2010 by sangay in GALAPAGOS ISLANDS, MAINLAND ECUADOR, OTHER

Ecuador: 5 worlds for you to discover   3 comments

Ecuador – for a relatively small Andean country – has a surprisingly wide variety of tourist attractions and activities … and all within a short travel of each other.  In fact, you can say that Ecuador has 5 worlds ….

Each of these ‘worlds’ has its own distinct features – weather, topography, cuisine, culture, flora & fauna and adventure. Each world is a little world in itself … come discover them (or rediscover them).

Whether you are seasoned off-road adventurer or a novice traveler, Ecuador has something for you.

Ecuador – para un país andino relativamente pequeño – con una sorprendente variedad de atractivos turísticos y actividades … y todo ello en un viaje corto de unos a otros. De hecho, se puede decir que el Ecuador tiene cinco mundos ….

Cada uno de estos “mundos” tiene sus características propias – el clima, la topografía, la gastronomía, la cultura, la flora y la fauna y el aventura . Cada mundo es un pequeño mundo en sí mismo … Venga a descubrir ellos (o redescubrir ellos).

Si usted es aventurero experimentado todo terreno o un viajero novato, el Ecuador tiene algo para ti.

Posted November 15, 2010 by sangay in GALAPAGOS ISLANDS, MAINLAND ECUADOR

Sea sickness: Ginger, Mareol & Never vomit into the wind.   4 comments

Winslow Homer's "The Fog Warning" 1885


“Never vomit into the wind”

Motion sickness or kinetosis – also known as ‘Travel Sickness’ – is apparently experienced by about 33% of people – even in mild circumstances such as being on a boat in calm water.

Common symptoms …

  • Dizziness, fatigue, and nausea [nausea, from the Greek term naus – meaning ship]
  • A paleness of the skin may be followed by yawning, restlessness, and a cold sweat.  As the symptoms progress, malaise and drowsiness set in, sometimes accompanied by an upset stomach.

Common situations that lead to sea sickness …

  • Motion sickness is more likely to occur with complex types of movement, especially movement that is slow or involves two different directions (for example, vertical and horizontal) at the same time;
  • Poor ventilation caused by gas fumes and smoke, and emotional factors such as fear and anxiety often act together to bring on an attack of motion sickness;

When it comes to a cruise, for example, in the Galapagos Islands …

  • You should strongly consider a more stable vessel – these being the large capacity cruise ships, and heavy motor catamarans;
  • The wider and heavier the vessel, the more stable it is; conversely, the narrower and lighter the vessel the more unstable it is;
  • Ideally you want to locate yourself as low down and and central (from front to back, and from side to side) of the boat as possible – this is the spot that you will feel less movement.

Other data …

  • Women are more sensitive to motion sickness than men, and pregnant women are especially at risk for motion sickness.
  • Children are commonly affected. The peak incidence for the development of motion sickness is 12 years; infants and children under two are generally not affected.
  • Persons who suffer from migraine headaches are at increased risk for motion sickness.

Supposed causes have been chalked up to an INNER EAR DISTURBANCE – basically what one feels and what one sees do not match.  Some claim that when feeling motion but not seeing it (for example, in a ship with no windows), the inner ear transmits to the brain that it senses motion, but the eyes tell the brain that everything is still. As a result of the disconcordance, the brain will come to the conclusion that one of them is hallucinating and further conclude that the hallucination is due to poison ingestion. The brain responds by inducing vomiting, to clear the supposed toxin.

Visual input seems to be of lesser importance, since blind people can develop motion sickness.

In an interesting article in Science Daily (link), professor of human movement science at the University of Minnesota, Tom Stoffregen, Ph.D., claims that “Those who move a lot, although barely visible, are the ones that get sick. He says it’s like they’re subconsciously moving to compensate for the motion, but they’re only making it worse.”

Dr. Stoffregen says, “People who are going to get sick first become wobbly, and it’s fair to say that by becoming wobbly they make themselves sick.” For now, researchers can’t predict who’s going to get sick, but experts say the best way to prevent motion sickness is to lie down and close your eyes.

Galapagos sea sicknessTreatment and/or prevention of Motion Sickness ..

Medications and other treatments are available. Nonprescription antihistamine treatments are believed to block signals from the inner ear to the vomiting center.

Antihistamines have been used to treat motions sickness. Notably, the nonsedating antihistamines do not seem to be effective for motion sickness treatment.

Examples of antihistamine medications to treat motion sickness include:

  • chlorpheniramine (Aller-Chlor),
  • cyclizine (Marezine),
  • cyclizine HCI (Bonine for Kids)
  • dimenhydrinate (Dramamine, Dramamine Chewable, Driminate),
  • diphenhydramine (Benadryl or MAREOL [Colombia & Ecuador],
  • meclizine (Antivert, Bonine, D-Vert, Dramamine II).

Side effects may include significant sedation, drowsiness, dry mouth, blurred vision, and confusion and urinary retention in the elderly.

  • These are most effective if taken 30 minutes to an hour before traveling and as directed.  If the drugs are taken only when the traveler begins to feel sick, it is usually too late to stop the process. These drugs should not be taken by children under 12 or by persons with other health problems without a doctor’s consent.  A number of prescription anti-nausea and anti-vomiting drugs are available. Ask your doctor for advice.  One innovative treatment is a through-the-skin delivery system, Transderm Scop, developed for scopolamine a highly effective drug for motion sickness. One patch is normally applied behind the ear 4 hours prior to travel, and replaced every 3 days. This method is not recommended for children, pregnant women, or those with liver, kidney, or bladder disease.

Some studies have shown that ginger, an old home remedy for gastrointestinal disturbances, may be effective in prevention of motion sickness.    Taking 1-2 grams of ginger orally has been used as an alternative medicine to prevent motion sickness. Studies both in experimental motion sickness and in naval cadets at sea have found that ginger, taken in advance, has reduced the symptoms of motion sickness. It is believed, however, that this benefit is due to the effects of ginger on stomach motility rather than suppression of sensory input.

Fixing one’s gaze upon landmarks or the horizon may help to prevent or lessen the symptoms of motion sickness.

Once the symptoms of motion sickness have set in, there is little to offer the suffering traveler other than sympathy and perhaps some fresh air.

Happy cruising.

Galapagos Islands ‘Eco Tourism’: ‘Greenwashing’ or ideals to strive for?   Leave a comment

Ecotourism (also known as ecological tourism) is responsible travel to fragile, pristine, and usually protected areas that strives to be low impact and (often) small scale. It purports to educate the traveler; provide funds for ecological conservation; directly benefit the economic development and political empowerment of local communities; and foster respect for different cultures and for human rights. Ecotourism is held as important by those who participate in it so that future generations may experience aspects of the environment relatively untouched by human intervention.

Ecotourism may appeal to ecologically and socially conscious individuals. Generally it focuses on volunteering, personal growth and environmental responsibility. Ecotourism typically involves travel to destinations where flora, fauna, and cultural heritage are the primary attractions. One of the goals of ecotourism is to offer tourists insight into the impact of human beings on the environment, and to foster a greater appreciation of our natural habitats.

Responsible ecotourism includes programs that minimize the negative aspects of conventional tourism on the environment and enhance the cultural integrity of local people. Therefore, in addition to evaluating environmental and cultural factors, an integral part of ecotourism is the promotion of recycling, energy efficiency, water conservation, and creation of economic opportunities for local communities.

The problems associated with defining ecotourism have led to confusion among tourists and academics alike. Definitional problems are also subject of considerable public controversy and concern because of green washing, a trend towards the commercialization of tourism schemes disguised as sustainable, nature based, and environmentally friendly ecotourism.

It appears to boil down to definition.

True ‘eco tourism’, seems to be more of an ideal than a reality. At best it should be a responsible, serious and sustained attempt. Looking at this way, there are many aspects of Galapagos Islands tourism that can be adequately classified here … but sadly, a great deal that without a doubt definitely falls far outside these notions.

If you are an idealist … Galapagos Islands tourism is almost complete ‘greenwashing’
If you are a realist …… Galapagos Islands tourism is a confusing and frustrating mix of ‘greenwashing’ and true attempts at eco-tourism

That being said, there are numerous things that anyone can do to put their grain of sand into the efforts …. and it starts with responsibility.

Galapagos Islands detailed map: SANTA CRUZ ISLAND & visit sites   Leave a comment

Posted August 27, 2010 by sangay in GALAPAGOS ISLANDS, PHOTOGRAPHY & IMAGES

Galapagos Islands detailed map: SAN CRISTOBAL ISLAND & visit sites   1 comment

Posted August 27, 2010 by sangay in GALAPAGOS ISLANDS, PHOTOGRAPHY & IMAGES