Archive for the ‘Galapagos news’ Tag

Ecuador on Alert for possible Pacific Ocean waves reaching 4m   Leave a comment

AUGUST 11th, 2011  13h30

The Ecuadorian government has issued an “Orange Alert” for the southern Pacific Coastal region (where waves could reach between 2 to 4 meters – according to local news sources, and has just included the Galapagos Islands (where waves could reach 2 to 3 meters in height – according to local news sources here in Quito).

The timing is not ideal as we head into a holiday long weekend, and a good majority of the major city inhabitants tend to flock to the coast during this period.

Spanish news link:

14h30 INOCAR (National Oceanographic Institute) is predicting the strong possibility that the strong waves that hit the coast of Chile & Peru yesterday will arrive on the coast of Ecuador later this afternoon, with waves 2 to 2.5 m.  Forecasts for August 12 predictstronger and larger waves (>2.5 m), while those for August 13 predict that the waves will start to diminish and end in the evening of August 14th.

15h03 From local media source Telegrafo: COEN (National Emergency Operations Committee) has started limited evacuations of southern coastal regions of Ecuador, particularly the province of El Oro.  In addition, the government is permitting people to visit the coastal regions during the holiday long weekend (Friday to Sunday) but swimming in the sea will not be permitted .. along with any aquatic sports, fishing or whale watching.

Any further updates will be posted here:

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.

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.

Over 100 boats operating in tourism in the Galapagos Islands without permission   3 comments

Original source: EL UNIVERSO

Original title: Cien lanchas hacen turismo sin permisos en Galápagos
Original author: José Olmos

A hundred boats without permits in tourism in Galapagos
By Jose Olmos

Credit: El Universo

In Galapagos there are 134 licensed boats for sightseeing, but at least another 102 are working on a non-regularized/authorized manner and offer various options, with costs up to two times lower. For example, a daily tour from Santa Cruz to Floreana Island is USD $135 per person, while non-regulated operations charge USD $70. Faced with this reality there is a push and pull of those involved. Legal & authorized operators complain; the Galapagos National Park (GNP) recognizes the problem and says it wants to find a way out of this dilemma; the Environment Minister, Marcela Aguiñaga, says there is “a misperception created by quasi operadores …”. The Navy says it has issued at least fifteen citations in two months for illegal tourism operations.

To reduce pressure on the Galapagos Marine Reserve (GMR), for the past five years, has been advocating for change in activity of some 1,100 local fishermen. Rafael Correa’s government delivered 24 fishing permits for experiential tourism purposes. But a dozen of these offer tourism services other than those authorized, such as scuba diving. Some fifty or so local fishermen that do not have the necessarry permits are also dedicating themselves to tourism.

There are 80 cargo/transport boats registered by the Navy in the islands. This is the fluvial transportation from port to port, but 40 of these are devoted to tourism and offer daily tours, including diving and visits to recreational sites.

This reality is lived while marking three years of UNESCO listing the Galapagos Islands on the World Heritage list of endangered sites, and while President Rafael Correa declared the archipelago as a risk zone in order to take the necessary steps to recover the category of Natural Heritage of Humanity.

Galapagos has special and strict rules to preserve and protect the land and marine reserves. There are 83 boats with capacity between 16 and 100 passengers who have permits. Other 9, with maximum capacity of 16, have room for bay and diving tours. For the past five months, 18 more managaed to win permits through a contest.

But in Puerto Ayora, San Cristobal and Isabela, the offer is diverse. In Puerto Ayora, a woman approached and mutters: “Where do you travel? Want a tour of the bay or to go to some other island?” There are other men and women, at least five, also ready to make your offer.

A tourist asks for a tour of Floreana Island. She says that is a tour from eight in the morning until six in the afternoon, that there one can snorkel and visit interesting places, with lunch included. The cost is USD $70 per person. The trip, she says, will be on the boat ‘Luna Azul’ (Blue Moon). But the Blue Moon is not a tourist boat but cargo/transport boat, and is one of at least 40 such units engaged tours. That same trip in a boat authorized costs USD $135.

The Sulidae is a yacht that, since 2008 has had cargo/transport permission, but also does tourism related tours. David Balfour van Hosen and David Balfour Arízaga, its owners, sold their ‘cupo’ (operating licence) back in December 2007 to the operator ‘Etica’ of Roque Sevilla – who, by merging with a similar permission for the ‘Mistral’ boat legalized the operation of the ship ‘La Pinta’ – a 48 passengers vessel, by decision of the Ministry of Environment, led by Aguiñaga.

Each day, the port of Puerto Ayora is a kind of market where you are offered, informally, many forms of land and marine tourism, such as bay tours, diving, snorkel or cruise between islands and even fishing.

Among the 50 fishermen involved in tourism in the islands there are 5 in Puerto Ayora offering their boats for any type of tourism – these being Jorge Aguirre Cobos, Antonio Santana Burgos, Jorge Cordova Holguin, Lider Santos Zavala Velez and Galo Cedeno. The latter, owner of Bella Union II boat, said to have families to support and not hurt anyone. “We also have asked for permission from fishing to tourism. The PNG has given us permission to work, although only informally (orally), but the Port Authority prohibits us from doing bay tours.”

… more of this article translation to come shortly

Posted April 22, 2010 by sangay in GALAPAGOS ISLANDS

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16 Canadians rescued from grounded yacht (ALTA) in Galapagos Island   1 comment

This photo released by Galapagos National Park shows the grounded Alta yacht in the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador, Thursday, March 18, 2010. Sixteen Canadian tourists and eight Ecuadorian crew members were rescued from the yacht that ran aground on Wednesday. No injuries were reported. (AP Photo/Galapagos National Park) (AP)

March 18, 2010

QUITO, Ecuador (AP) — Ecuadorean officials say 16 Canadian tourists and eight Ecuadorean crew members have been rescued from a yacht that ran aground in the Galapagos Islands.

The country’s national park service says all of those aboard the 140-foot (46 meter) Alta are safe. But it says it will hold the operator responsible for any damage to the region’s environment.

It says the vessel ran aground on Wednesday evening on the ISLOTE CAMANO and that rough seas prevented the yacht’s recovery or removal of the fuel aboard.

The ship is operated by Florida-based Quasar Expeditions. A phone call to the company was not immediately returned on Thursday. Officials have not released the identities of the passengers.
Incident involving the M/S Alta

Quasar Expeditions’ Official Second Release
March 22, 2010
11h00 GMT

Passenger & Safety

All 16 passengers who were onboard the Alta during Wednesday’s incident have safely returned to Canada.

Environmental Concerns

On Saturday, March 20th, all of the fuel on Alta’s tanks was emptied. The yacht’s fuel tanks, which are located on the bow of the yacht, did not suffer any damage. The grounding of the Alta compromised the mid hull section, thus, there was never a fuel spill during the grounding up until the tanks were emptied.

Alta’s Current Condition

At this moment Alta continues to be grounded at Camaño Islet. The yacht’s hull and engines are very heavy, thus, it has been impossible to try and pull the yacht away from the islet with the Coast Guard ship. Representatives of the Insurance Company arrived to the Islands on Friday, March 19, to assess the situation, and after visiting the grounding spot and looking into the possible alternatives to pull the Alta away from the islet, they have decided that they will do this by lifting the hull from the rocks with special floatation devices. These devices have to be brought from Panama, which means the yacht will not be pulled out of Camaño Islet for another couple of weeks. Once pulled out, the specialists from the insurance company will determine the extent of the damage and take pertinent actions.

Quasar Nautica Expeditions M/S Alta Statistics
Type of Vessel: Three-Masted Staysail Schooner
Capacity: 16 passengers, 8 crew plus 1 naturalist guide
Length: 46 meters (140 feet)
Beam: 6.8 meters (21 feet)
Draft: 3.4 meters (10.5 feet)
Builder: Titleness, Norway

M/S Alta was certified to operate by numerous overarching national and international regulations which include the Galapagos National Park, DIGMER and ISM (International, Classification Society and Port State Inspections etc.).

Hull and Machinery Insurance: Marsh Ltd. London, England

Protection and Indemnity: Shipowners: Luxembourg

DIGMER – Galapagos Registration No. TN-01-00100

M/S Alta received its full inspections and certifications, which included a Conditions Survey, required by Insurers Marsh Ltd. and Shipowners, as well as all inspections and certifications required by DIGMER (Ecuador’s Marine Merchant Entity).

Quasar Nautica Expeditions Update, March 22, 2010 11h00 GMT

Galapagos economic boat GABY – warning   Leave a comment

As a public courtesy, and following Sangay Touring’s constant ethical and professional approach to Galapagos cruises, we publish the following regarding the economic Galapagos Islands boat, M/Y Gaby (aka Gabi):

Ecuadorian Ministry of Tourism

Oficio No.- MT-GRG-2010-0013

Date: January 21, 2010

To all tour operators and agencies we inform you of the report by the Puerto Ayora Port Captain [see below excerpt section].  In addition we take this opportunity to inform you that, due to numerous complaints regarding the incompletion of services provided by the operator of the Gaby, the respective legal department of the Minsitry of Tourism will be exectuting in the following days, in conjuction with the Direccion Juridica, the respective administrative and legal procedures to ensure that all the pertinent and legal procedures are applied.

Official communication [translation of pertinent sections] from Capitania de Puerto Ayora, Galapagos

Date: January 18, 2010

The boat, Gaby, is currently prohibited to navigate due to the incompletion of Internaitonal security regulations.  The boat, due to damages to its motor and generator, cannot navigate December 28th, 29th & 30th 2009 and after 3 inspections conducted by the Puerto Ayora Port captain to verify the boat’s condition has decided to stop its operation until such time as the boat returns to satisfactory conditions.

Galapagos tourist boat sinks October 1, 2009 (official)   Leave a comment

The tourist boat Cormorant II (aka Galapagos Journey II), with licence no.TN-01-00-226, suffered mechanical damages while navigating near Punta Flores, on the north coast of Isabela Island. Aboard were 14 passengers and 8 crew members.

The Galapagos National Park patrol boat, Guadalupe River, was realizing a relief of personnel at the Bolivar Canal base (Isabela Island) when they received a distress call from the Cormorant II at aproximately 02h30 today.

The National Park park rangers immediately made their way to the site and successfully rescued all passengers and crew members, but the strong currents and waves that have been present in the past few days in the archipelago completely destroyed the catamaran, losing all material, documents and equipment that was aboard.

The crew members of the Guadalupe River provided first aid to various passengers that required minor attention. All the rescued individuals were transfered to the Itabaca Canal (north point of Santa Cruz Island) where they were received by the cruise operator.

Representatives of the Galapagos National Park will conduct a survey of the possible environmental damages, as at the time of the incident, the catamaran was carrying 1000 gallons of fuel in her storage tanks. The representative of the Cormorant II, Ángel Gustavo Villacís, will need to execute the necessary guarantees and mitigation procedures.

Original source (in Spanish) from El Comercio:

Galapagos flights – AEROGAL change   Leave a comment

AEROGAL airline has just notified us, that as of June 24th 2009 [update confirmed on July 28, 2009], the following flight schedule change takes places:








Lonesome George – Galapagos News   Leave a comment

Source: Parque Nacional Galapagos [Galapagos National Park]
Date: July 21, 2009

Translation by: Robin Slater (Sangay Touring)

New hopes for obtaining descendants of the Lonesome George.

In the pen of the emblematic Giant Tortoise a new nest if discovered.

The Director of the Galapagos National Park, Edgar Muñoz, participated in the gathering, measuring and weighing of the eggs.

Last Saturday, the female Nº 107, one of two female that share the pen with the Solitary Jorge (spanish) (Lonesome George) and the female that attempted mating with Lonesome George for the first time in 2008, has nested this year again, renewing hopes for descendants of this emblematic Giant Tortoise.

Yesterday afternoon, National Park wardens opened the nest and found five eggs under perfect conditions. These eggs were removed, weighed, measured and placed in the artificial incubators in the Center of Reproduction and Upbringing in Captivity of Giant Turtles, part of the Galapagos National Park. Now it is necessary to wait the 120 days that the incubation process lasts to know if the eggs are fertile.

Due to the necessity of trying to recover the Pinta Island species (Geochelone abingdoni), the five eggs were placed in the incubator that keep the eggs at a constant temperature of 29.5 °C that which allows / augments the chances of obtaining female offspring.

The female Nº 107 and her partner are the Geochelone becky species, from the Wolf volcano on the western island of Isabela, which have a shell similar to that of Lonesome George, for this reason in 1993, started to share the with Lonesome George as part of an experiment to motivate their reproduction.

When almost all hopes that the reptile mates with his companions, in July of 2008, these females produced eggs, giving hope that this last of the Pinta island species does not go into extinction.

Resurgen las esperanzas de obtener descendientes del Solitario Jorge

En el corral del emblemático animal se encontró un nuevo nido

El Director del PNG, Edgar Muñoz, participó de la recolección, medición y pesaje de los huevos.

El sábado pasado, la hembra Nº 107, una de las dos que comparten el corral con el Solitario Jorge y que desovó por primera vez en 2008, volvió a anidar este año, con lo que renacen las esperanzas de que el emblemático reptil deje descendencia.

Ayer en la tarde, guardaparques abrieron el nido y encontraron cinco huevos en perfectas condiciones. Estos huevos fueron sacados, pesados, medidos y colocados en las incubadoras artificiales del Centro de Reproducción y Crianza en Cautiverio de Tortugas Gigantes de la Dirección del Parque Nacional Galápagos (DPNG), ahora hay que esperar los 120 días que dura el proceso de incubación para conocer si los huevos son fértiles .

Debido a la necesidad de tratar de recuperar la especie de tortugas de Pinta (Geochelone abingdoni), los cinco huevos fueron colocados en la incubadora que se mantienen a una temperatura de 29,5 °C lo cual permite obtener individuos hembras.

La hembra Nº 107 y su compañera, son de la especie Geochelone becky, originaria de volcán Wolf en la isla Isabela, tiene un carapacho de forma similar a Jorge, por lo que desde 1993, comparten el corral con el solitario como parte de un experimento para motivar su reproducción.

Cuando se veían agotadas las esperanzas de que el reptil se aparee con sus acompañantes, en julio de 2008, estas hembras desovaron por primera vez devolviendo al mundo la ilusión de que la especie de tortugas gigantes de Pinta no se extinga.

Elaborado por: Proceso de Relaciones Públicas de la Dirección del Parque Nacional Galápagos
Para mayor información, escríbanos a:

Baltra Island Becomes Part of Galapagos National Park   Leave a comment

DATE: 19 June 2009

An Executive Decree Defines the Zoning of Baltra Island, which is now part of the Galapagos National Park.

Baltra Island, located at the center of the Galapagos Archipelago, officially became part of the Galapagos National Park (GNP) and thus part of the National System of Protected Areas of Ecuador, through Executive Decree 1784, dated June 15, 2009.

Baltra Island is now part of the Galapagos National Park.


This decree defines the zoning of Baltra and establishes areas for conservation and restoration of ecosystems, and areas for the reduction of environmental impacts, as laid out in the zoning system in the GNP Management Plan.

The area designated for conservation and restoration of ecosystems will be monitored by the GNP and occupies 73.9% (1,874.15 ha) of the island. A total of 28.94% (722.85 ha) of the island has been designated as an area for impact reduction. Within this area, three sub zones have been defined:

* Areas for special use, managed by the GNPS
* Areas for use by the Ecuadorian military, managed by the Ecuadorian armed forces
* Areas for airport infrastructure, managed by the Office of Civil Aviation

The decree also designated the roads connecting the Baltra docks with the airport as areas for “free circulation for terrestrial transit.”

The process of zoning Baltra was initiated more than two years ago, following a request by the Minister of the Environment and the Ministry of Defense to clarify institutional responsibility for the management and use of Baltra, where the Galapagos Air Base and the Puerto de Seymour Port Captaincy are located.

A committee created a zoning proposal which was approved by the Ingala Council. With this baseline document, the Minister of Environment began a process of dialogue with the Ministry of Defense.

The zoning proposal integrated the land use needs of the three institutions based on the island, and the guidelines contained in the GNPS Management Plan.

Proceso de Relaciones Públicas – Parque Nacional Galápagos – Ecuador
For more information, write to:, or visit

Oil spill in Galapagos (June 17, 2009)   2 comments

DATE: JUNE 17, 2009

According to local news sources, a diesel fuel spill occurred in Academy Bay, off the island of Santa Cruz on June 17, 2009. The spill occurred close to where the deluxe tourist boat, Evolution, was anchored. Galapagos National Park authorities have placed a security net to prevent the spill from spreading, although detergent was spread along the coast.

“It was a result of poor handling of the transfer of fuel to the boat, according to the crew; and investigations are under way to possibly fine the responsible parties” stated the Galapagos National Park spokesperson, Rosa Leon in an interview with AP by telephone in reference to an oil spill that appeared near the tourist boat Evolution which was anchored in the Puerto Ayora bay of Santa Cruz Island.

NOTE: Puerto Ayora spill containment.

Galapagos fishing boat suffers damage (April 24, 2009)   Leave a comment

Breaking news from Galapagos ….

According to local news sources here in Quito, Ecuador a local Galapagos fishing boat, Reina Isabel, has suffered damages in the harbour of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno (San Cristobal Island) Galapagos.

DATE: April 24, 2009
TIME: 20h20 local Quito time