AUTHOR Juan Bastidas
CONSERVATION IN GALAPAGOS
The ORIGIN – The Ultimate Combination of Luxury Meets Eco-Friendliness
AUTHOR Juan Bastidas
On February 28, 2016, the MV ORIGIN made her debut on her maiden voyage in the Galapagos Islands. Ecoventura, a recognized leader in sustainable cruising, launched the 142-foot Premium Class vessel, offering high-end accommodation and amenities for just 20 guests.
The ORIGIN was custom designed and built in Ecuador for both comfort and fuel efficiency using techniques to provide a smooth voyage; from the innovative shape of the curved bow to cut through waves, to welding techniques used in construction with a lighter weight steel without compromising rigidity or safety, and an underwater bulbous keel to reduce friction, creating less drag – without increase RPM, which translates to 30% greater fuel efficiency and a cruising speed of 12 knots. Ecoventura utilized the latest technology available in fuel efficient Caterpillar engines and generators, and also modern techniques to minimize water pollution and conserve water.
According to company President Santiago Dunn, who assembled a team of naval and interior designers from Guayaquil, and oversaw the construction of the MV ORIGIN in shipyard. “We paid attention to all the details – for example the two-flush marine toilets are a complete part of the sewage treatment process (all of them are macerating toilets incorporating French technology). Instead of disposing of grey water into the ocean, water is treated with a state-of-the-art on board treatment plant that filters 10,000 liters per day. By law, untreated grey water has to be disposed 12 miles from the coast, but we treat it before releasing it. The grey water treatment was our biggest challenge – we had to build additional holding tanks for the grey water to ensure that it did not mix with any black water, especially because the grey water is used to clean the outside of the ship”.
Ecoventura started operating Galapagos cruise tour boats in 1991, and greening the operation in 1999 (well before it became trendy) and has since looked for ways to lessen the impact on this fragile environment. We were the first company to obtain a voluntary environmental certification through the Rainforest Alliance, then called Smart Voyager, and has maintained the “Green Seal” ever since. We already met the stricter environmental regulations in 2008 when it was then required by law and applied to all tour boats in Galapagos. We also offset carbon emissions and installed alternative energy sources on board.
For us, the ORIGIN was the ultimate combination of luxury and eco-friendliness.
We built a brand new vessel that is luxurious and spacious, appealing to our discerning clients – and eco-friendly.
The ORIGIN’s design and ability to reduce fuel consumption while at the same time increasing speed means that we can offer reduced navigation time for our guests, which translates into more time to explore the islands. The yacht is able to anchor earlier at each destination site.
We chose to invest in these environmental measures because today our guests want to be part of the solution when it comes to protecting and preserving fragile destinations such as the Galapagos. They do not want to contribute to an area’s demise that can often be caused by irresponsible tourism.
Photo credit via Jean Carmela Lim of Holy Smithereens
We had amassed a file with suggestions and feedback after being in operation for 20 years. We knew that when we started building ORIGIN, we had to incorporate solutions for issues such as areas to better store larger luggage and more hanging space for clothing to dry. We incorporated details such as making the bathrooms more spacious and having pocket doors that don’t swing open.
We were able to pick and choose our dream boat elements from “dream” boats we saw in magazines – for example the teak floors with white stripes were inspired by ships designed in Italy.
The company spared no expense when they decided to upgrade their fleet of first class yachts and raised the bar on comfort level including more spaciousness cabins, high-end amenities and faster cruising speed with ORIGIN.