The San Cristobal Airport will remain closed for runway maintenance until further notice. All flights to and from Galapagos will be through Baltra Airport. The itineraries of the ships and yachts have been modified to accommodate the flight schedules.
On Tuesday, Aug 28, we had heard rumours of volcanic activity on Fernandina and a 5.2 earthquake on northern Isabela. On Wednesday afternoon, August 29th, we disembarked (from the motor yacht Beluga) for a visit on Punta Espinoza on Fernandina and kept our eyes on the volcano in hopes of seeing some activity. Around 4:00 PM we noticed a small ash plume drifting out of the caldera as we walked back towards the “dock” to depart on a whale watching excursion. We became excited about the possibility of observing more volcanic “action”. At the dock (a small slab of concrete on top of the lava amongst the mangrove) we gathered to board the dinghys back to the yacht. At that time (4:10 PM), a 5.4 earthquake struck as a sudden jolt. I also heard a muffled bang. We made our way back through the mangrove to where we could get a good look at the volcano which had begun to spew more ash all across the rim of the caldera. On our way back to the yacht we also observed a minor ash eruption on Darwin Volcano on the north end of Isabela Island. It had already been an amazing cruise, but this was even more “icing on the cake”! – Jeff Waugh, CEO & Director of Operations, Inti Travel and Tours, Inc.
The international departure tax at the Mariscal Sucre International Airport in Quito will increase to $40.80 US as of Aug 1, 2007.
Mindalae Museum Offers Glimpse of Ecuador’s Rich Artistic Tradition Funded by the government of Belgium, the municipal government of Quito, the new Mindalae Museum opened its doors to the public in late 2006 in Quito’s Mariscal district. The word “Mindalae” comes from the word Mindala, a term used for merchants in pre-Colombian civilizations in the Americas. In this spirit, the Mindalae Museum is a place which highlights the diverse and stunning artwork and handicrafts of Ecuador’s many indigenous artisans.
The new museum consists of five floors, with a large collection of archaeological artifacts, tools, and handicrafts from indigenous highland, Amazonian, Afro-Ecuadorian, and coastal cultures. The museum also hosts a number of musical and dance performances as well. Visitors can also choose from a variety of souvenirs at the free trade gift shop which promotes the nation’s thriving artisan sector and the beautiful handmade goods they are responsible for creating. For more information, please visit http://www.sinchisacha.org.
The Galapagos National Park authorities just announced this week further restrictions on SCUBA in the Galapagos Islands that are designed to promote better safety for divers and help protect the underwater ecosystem within the Galapagos Marine Reserve. Only authorized SCUBA shops or dive boats will be permitted to offer SCUBA. SCUBA shops already send dive boats to meet with some ships and yachts in order to offer occasional SCUBA. Most divers will not be affected by this move.