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9 of the Best Moments of The Galapagos 2019

9 of the Best Moments of The Galapagos 2019

Without sounding dramatic, each year the Galapagos has magical moments. It is one of those transcendental places that will remain with you forever. Every day, there is something new to behold. Let’s review some of the best ones from this year.

Metamorphosis in the Galapagos

The growth and change of the Galapagos Islands’ wildlife is something beautiful. Seeing the birds grow from chicks to adults is wonderous. As is seeing black baby crabs develop their colourful shells. But the most spectacular change is when the Marine Iguanas change colour for mating.

Described by Darwin as ‘hideous looking’, Marine Iguanas only live in the Galapagos. But despite their looks, they are gentle herbivores that survive on seaweed and algae. And they are the only species of lizard that can live and forage at sea.

For most of the year, they are all black. But during the mating season, they turn beautiful shades of red and green to attract a partner. The most colourful Marine Iguanas are on Española and Floreana Island.

One Small Step for Tortoise

Giant Tortoises have quite the history on the Galapagos. From Lonesome George to the incredibly ‘active’ Diego. But one species, the Fernandina Giant Tortoise, believed to have been extinct was discovered in February of this year. The last confirmed sighting was in 1906, so it caused quite the stir when one was found on Fernandina Island.

The single female, believed to be about 100 years old, was discovered one Sunday during an expedition lead by Washington Tapia. The director of the GRTI stated that finding the Giant Tortoise was like winning the Oscars.

The female relocated to a more nutritional island in the hope that she can save her species. There was evidence of more tortoise tracks so a second expedition is to be conducted in the hope of recovering a male.

One Giant Leap for Sharks

The Hammerhead Shark is not an animal you want to come face to face with. Yet, the loss of any species, no matter how big or small, is still a massive loss for the world. Except maybe the dinosaurs. Which is why the predator and the discovery of a new breeding ground made the news earlier this year.

Hammerhead Sharks are not prolific reproducers, and they grow incredibly slow. Combined with the increased threat of commercial fishing, the Hammerhead is in danger of extinction. The discovery of a second refuge near Santa Cruz means that efforts by the Galapagos National Park, to create safe marine conservation for the endangered shark are working.

Earth Day in The Galapagos

The theme for Earth Day 2019 was ‘protect our species’. A theme fit for the Galapagos Islands as many of our species are at risk of becoming extinct. During this celebration, visitors were shown how they could interact with the animals in a respectable and sustainable manner.

Sustainability is a theme that runs through all tours in the Galapagos. To ensure the correct sharing of information, visits to the Islands are only conducted by employees of the Galapagos National Park.

Haugan Cruises Rebrand

Following the success of Earth Day, we at Haugan Cruises announced our rebranding and new sustainability policy.

These islands are nicknamed the enchanted islands because they are so mesmerising and magical. And we intend to keep them that way. Our new policies ensure that no waste and no evidence we were ever there is left on the island. In fact, the only evidence of you being there at all will be your pictures and your memories.

If you would like more information on our rebrand, click here.

The Whales Return

You’ll see some fantastic sights over your lifetime. And you’ll cherish specific memories forever. But the first time a Tropical Penguin swims around you, or the first time you spot a whale break through the water is something you will never be able to put into words. You’ll try. But somehow you’ll never be able to recreate that magic.

The migration patterns of Whales see these majestic creatures head to our warm equatorial waters when it is time to mate. They begin their journey from the Antarctic in March and land in the Galapagos’s pristine waters in June.

For those avid Whale watchers, this is your month to visit. Though sightings occur June – September, the largest concentration of whales is in June.

What do Sharks Eat For Breakfast?

You may think this is an easy answer, and quite frankly it is! But it is also a vital source of information. As apex predators, sharks are top of the food chain. Their eating habits provide insight into how the marine ecosystem works.

So what do sharks eat? For the larger tiger sharks, their primary prey is green turtles and sea lions. The younger sharks prefer squid and pelagic fish. Pretty obvious, I know, but as one of the most endangered species in the world, it is vital to learn as much about them as possible.

For those yet to discover the Galapagos, a trip here will leave you with a greater understanding of our ecosystem. Yes, sharks are big and scary, but they help maintain a healthy marine ecosystem. They are responsible for keeping the underwater world under control.

Our Petrel Got A Make Over

As part of our rebranding, one of our yachts had a refurbishment. In keeping with our new sustainability programme, the Petrel has a more natural and earthy feel. The colours are inspired by the bird after which the boat is named, the Petrel.

Another Discovery To Close The Year

November saw the discovery and identification of three more reptiles in the Galapagos. One of which resides within a remote, active volcano.

This discovery was part of a three-year project funded by international nonprofits. There are so many undiscovered reptiles that are almost extinct or endangered. This project is designed to find as many as possible to study and prevent extinction.

As we’ve witnessed this past year, there is still so much to discover and learn. Magical moments here are endless. But if there is one thing we can take with us into 2020, it is that understanding and sustainability are two things we all need to focus on.

From all at Haugan Cruises to you and your family, we hope that you have had an incredible year and that the next year brings you love and prosperity.

We wish you Happy New Year and hope to see you on your travels through Ecuador.