THE LUX LIFE (RELAIS & CHATEAUX)

Ecoventura thrilled to welcome guests as Theory returns to the seas

AUTHOR The Ecoventura Team

Delighted to be back doing what they love most, our team welcomed a family aboard Theory

A year ago it would have been unthinkable to imagine how 2020 would unfold, but on a positive note the global pandemic reminded us what is most important in life and taught us that nothing can be taken for granted.

With travel at the center of our existence, these months of standstill have not come naturally to the Ecoventura team. So, it was met with unbridled joy when August brought a family down from the United States to spend a week with us aboard our newest Relais & Chateaux yacht, Theory, exploring the enchanted islands.

“The level of care, attention to detail, correspondence and organization was simply extraordinary,” wrote the family as they set off on their trip.

The excitement was contagious as the family landed in the Galapagos Islands and we began our week-long expedition charter. Always a bucket-list destination, visiting after long months without tourists with more wildlife around than ever, is truly an experience of a lifetime.

“Thank you to the entire team for a magical, wonderful adventure. We are honored to be some of the first visitors to return to Ecuador and the Galapagos”.  These were the words of our first guests back on board following a pandemic-enforced hiatus of over four months. Whilst positive feedback always leaves us feeling proud of our crews and guides, not to mention thrilled that we’ve been able to share our love and enthusiasm of the Galapagos Islands a little wider, after such a long lull these words do feel a little more special.

With the Galapagos reopened to visitors and Ecoventura taking to the seas once again, it goes without saying, we’re thrilled. Thrilled to be showing this wonderful archipelago off to visitors once again after so long on our own. Thrilled to be sailing through the warm, azure waters of the Galapagos seas after so long at anchor. Thrilled to be admiring the incredible wildlife – above and below the waves – again after so long away from the trails, snorkel spots and beaches.

And, of course, our team couldn’t be happier to take to the seas once again too. After all, with our vessels moored for months on end, our crews and guides have had a far quieter 2020 than they would ever have anticipated.

All the crew were really happy to return because for them this ship is their second home” says Mariuxi Medina, concierge on board and the team member primarily tasked with attending to our guests’ every need. “Working as a team again and receiving passengers was the most exciting thing for everyone because it is something we all love and enjoy to do.” 

Whilst we are delighted to have guests to show off the incredible wildlife and landscapes that the Galapagos have to offer, it’s interesting to hear from our crew as well. After all, many in our team have sailed the islands for years and know the Galapagos better than anyone, and so are well-positioned to offer their own, fascinating insights in to post-lockdown life on the archipelago.

“Something I was very interested in was to see the state of the islands” explains Ivan Lopez, one of our naturalist guides on board for this voyage talking about returning to the field after several months stuck at home. “I thought I was going to witness big changes, but the wildlife and nature has thrived. The animals were probably wondering where all the humans went!”.

Of course, things haven’t returned to what was once considered normal, and we wouldn’t expect it to. We have an enhanced cleanliness and sanitation protocol in place to safeguard the health and safety of all onboard, passengers and crew alike. Our maximum guests per guide ratio has been reduced to 8 and additional bio-safety measures are explained to guests during the welcome briefing.

But whilst we all have a part to play and we have made changes where necessary, our commitment to the Galapagos will remain as strong as ever.

We are proud to play an active role in the conservation of these pristine islands, and we are delighted to announce the Charles Darwin Foundation has awarded us a platinum medal in recognition of our commitment and support to science and conservation efforts in the Galapagos. It is immensely pleasing to see that conservation projects in the islands have continued at strength even through the worst of the pandemic.

With voyages recommencing, we will also be infinitely better placed to continue supporting the local economy through our activities – did you know, for example, the majority of ingredients on our menus are locally grown or caught, thereby providing an income for local Galapagos farmers and fishermen?

And as our guide Ivan remarked, returning to the seas “represents a light of hope to more than a thousand naturalist guides in the Galapagos who were filled with joy to know we have taken a great first step towards a new beginning”. Whilst this first voyage will be only the first small step in moving towards normality, it certainly helps remind us all what a wonderful, inspiring experience travel in the Galapagos can be.

It has been so heart-warming to see such a strong sense of unity among our staff as they have adapted to the new norms on board.

But of course, without guests to visit none of this would have been possible. So it’s only fitting to finish with some final words from this wonderful family who took a week to visit the Galapagos with us: “I trust Ecoventura will be welcoming many guests back in the coming weeks. My sincere gratitude to each of you for all of the time and effort to make this journey a success. Should any future guest need some reassurance that their trip will be equally as successful as ours, I would be happy to share our experience” – Ecoventura guests, August 2020.