Lindblad Expeditions officially named the newest entrant to its fleet, that National Geographic Islander II, during a small ceremony in the Galapagos. Angela Flaim, widow of late Galapagos conservation icon Juan Flaim, presided over the naming, along with Lindblad founder Sven Lindblad. Together, they smashed an environmentally-friendly Champagne bottle from the bow of the 48-passenger ship.
The ceremony took place in Black Turtle Cove, Santa Cruz Island, in the center of the Galapagos archipelago, and was attended by VIP guests, local dignitaries, company leaders and media.
“May this ship be blessed with calm seas, curious minds, and caring hearts as her guests celebrate the beauty and wonder of these island and Ecuador,” Flaim said during the naming. “I wish those lucky enough to sail with her, both crew and guests alike, experience the joy that is only possible when we explore life passionately.”
“This incredible ship is our mission in motion, exciting guests to what we know about this wild place and even more importantly, to what is yet to be discovered,” said Sven-Olof Lindblad, founder and co-chair of the board. “As the pioneers in Galapagos tourism, our expertise and commitment to genuine engagement with this region’s natural wonders provides our guess with extraordinary, life changing experiences, and a lifelong passion to protect these incredible and fragile environments.”
During its first year in the region, the ship will host local marine scientists from the Charles Darwin Foundation and Galapagos National Park Directorate, in partnership with National Geographic Society’s Exploration Technology Lab, for a 10-day monitoring campaign to assess the biodiversity and distribution of organisms and habitats on the largely unchartered underwater mountains that exist thousands of meters under the surface.
The last exploration campaign, conducted in 2019, uncovered two apex predator shark species that were previously unknown to be inhabiting the Galapagos Marine Reserve, as well as a kelp forest.
The former Crystal Esprit, National Geographic Islander II will now ply the waters of the Galapagos year round. It large-scale refit of the ship saw the addition of a Science Hub outfitted with the capacity for underway oceanographic sensoring, an interactive video display, lab benches, and seating for guests to observe scientists at work.
Two of the 26 suites onboard the ship are dedicated to conservation and community, and are reserved for Galapagos community members, local and international researchers, educators, storytellers and other experts on each voyage.
Other highlights of the ship include a well-fitted observation deck, indoor-outdoor dining options, and purpose-built expedition amenities including a marina for snorkeling gear storage and easy Zodiac embarkation. The ship carries a fleet of kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, a custom-built glass bottom Zodiac and a flotilla of Mark V Zodiacs.
Travel Market Report will be onboard National Geographic Islander II starting today. Stay tuned for a closer look at the ship.