Whilst many of the world’s countries are in lockdown participants of World ARC 2021-2022 have been extremely fortunate to be able to enjoy a number of events and tours on Santa Cruz, Galapagos.
The Bahia Mar restaurant, conveniently located in the centre of Puerto Ayora, has opened its doors to the fleet and offers a beautiful setting for participants to enjoy and relax whilst sipping coffee or cocktails overlooking the bay where their boats are anchored. It was at this fitting location that the World ARC organisers held a crew super where a delicious meal of fresh seared tuna and local delicacy, fillet of Brujo, scorpion fish on mashed yucca was enjoyed by all. Along with a few fun prizes handed out and a tune from Bea on Jubilate Mare, everyone had a very enjoyable and fun evening.
We are all too aware of the impact of plastic rubbish on our shores and this is taken very seriously in Galapagos. Supporting local volunteer group Frente Insular de la Reserva Marina de Galápagos for the third year running, World ARC participants, staff and even the navy troops joined an organised beach clean. Scanning the shore line in front of the Port Captains offices and managing to step carefully around nesting iguanas, a good hour was spent collecting over 5 bags of rubbish. Plastic bottles are the most common of items found but in the last few years larger items such as whole canoes and tyres have been collected by World ARC participants.
Recycling all the rubbish collected is key and Maria Belén, one of the volunteer leaders, has come up with the cleaver and talented idea of remoulding plastic found on the beaches and making it into jewellery. Items are sold and the money earned is put back into the beach clean project.
Many areas who depend on tourism are drastically down on number of visitors and Galapagos has seen a great impact due to the World pandemic. During the beach clean World ARC learned that volunteers from Frente Insular turned their efforts to helping those families who have not been able to work for nearly a year now and have continued their support in providing food and care for those in the local community who really need it most.
It is not only an opportunity to gain a better understanding of the impact of the plastics in our oceans but also a pleasure for World ARC to be able to help in a very small way by holding a beach clean each year and acknowledge the good work these volunteers provide.
World ARC participants have also provided their support in Galapagos by booking extra tours, trips and dives which have thrilled everyone. Horse riding, farm visits and guided walks to remote beaches are just some of the adventures that have been popular. Swimming with Hammerhead sharks and giant sea turtles for the first time is quite an experience and one which many of the crews will take away with them forever from this extraordinary archipelago.
Prior to their onward journeys, members of the fleet are ensuring their boats are fully prepared for their next adventures. Boats are demanding at the best of times and they are certainly keeping the local mechanics busy this year. Generator and alternator issues are some of the main problems which must be resolved prior to their departure.
In the meantime, there is still plenty of Galapagos adventures to explore and discover providing memories of a lifetime to sail away with.
The enjoyment of this unique location would not be possible without the continued guidance from a number of agents and companies across the Islands. World ARC would like to acknowledge and thank the following; Antonio Moreano and his team from Sea Masters, Peter and his dedicated staff at Bahia Mar, Pamela Yépez and Emilee Bynum from Islanders Galapagos and to the Navy and Port Captain of Galapagos for granting our fleet permission to enter their islands especially in such challenging times. We look forward to returning again in 2022!