M/Y Coral II Dry Dock
During last May, our deluxe yacht M/Y Coral II had her scheduled dry dock. The following works have been done that will improve guest´s experience in the Galapagos Islands:
- General maintenance of the yacht in outer and inner areas; hull, propellers, shafts and the ship's steering keeping our extra safety and operational conditions.
- Improvement on propulsion with an increase of speed in 2 knots, complying even better with the scheduled itineraries especially in long voyages.
- Maintenance of equipments; power generation, air conditioning, navigation, hydraulics and safety systems. Ensuring the good operation of the yacht for the next two years.
- Hospitality improvements; wood maintenance, change of carpets, tapestry, curtains, portholes with UV protection, new ceiling, kitchen´s equipment and buffet station.
- New berths on each cabin and adding an extra bed for a child on cabin #6 making the first triple cabin on board M/Y Coral II, new pillows and lin.
- New Audio & Video System in cabins where guests can check their itineraries, consumptions on board, music and documentaries.
Lonesome George, last-of-its-kind Galapagos tortoise, dies
Lonesome George was believed to be the last living member of the Pinta island subspecies and had become an icon in the Galapagos Islands at Charles Darwin's Research Station, Santa Cruz Island.
Various mates had been provided for Lonesome George after he was found in 1972 in what proved unsuccessful attempts to keep his subspecies alive. Attempts were initially made to mate Lonesome George with two female tortoises from Wolf Volcano but the eggs they produced were infertile. Another try with two females from Spanish island's tortoise population, the species most closely related to Pinta tortoises, were placed with him last year without success.
The tortoise's age was not known but scientists believed he was about 100, not especially old for giant tortoises, who can live well over a century. Unfortunately he was found dead in the morning of Sunday June 24, 2012, The Galapagos National park verified that the cause of his death is natural cause due to his age. The Galapagos' giant tortoise population was decimated after the arrival of humans but a recovery program run by the park and the Charles Darwin Foundation has increased the overall population from 3,000 in 1974 to 20,000 currently.
The Inti Raymi "Festival of the Sun" was a religious ceremony of the Inca´s Empire in honor of the God sun, it is one of the most important ancestral celebrations of the Andean indigenous communities. Several events took place in different towns starting on June 21st. Inti Raymi is still celebrated in indigenous cultures throughout Ecuador´s Highlands. Celebrations involve music, colorful costumes (aya huma mask), the sharing of food based in corn and drinking "chicha" a strong alcoholic beverage. Our indigenous communities will go to rivers and waterfalls for their communitarian ritual allowing the spiritual purification and connection with Mother Nature.
Particularly on the Northern Andes in the colorfull community of Peguche, our local partner, the folkloric restaurant "Sumak Micuy" was the hostess "prioste" of this important event this year. This small community still keeps traditions such as the "trueque" the exchange of products or animals without any currency. Their special celebration took place from Saturday June 30 to Tuesday July 3rd with daily celebrations, food, music and fireworks "castillos & vacas locas" sponsored by Kleintours to the community.
What's going on in Galapagos during July?
- Nesting season for blue-footed boobies, American oystercatchers, waved albatross, and flightless cormorants.
- Start of sea lion breeding season.
- Lava lizards mating season.
- Weather: July and August are the months with strongest winds.