Friday, March 11
We motored through the night, arriving at Española Island about 6 am. Sleeping while the boat was moving didn’t turn out to be too difficult. However once upstairs, we were told about a magnitude 8.9 earthquake which had struck Japan. Rumours swirled about, but at breakfast Alex explained what was going to happen. A tsunami warning had been sent out, and the wave had already passed Hawaii with a height of 3.5 metres. The Ecuadorian government had decreed that all ships in the Galápagos must head out to the open ocean with a depth of at least 200 metres. Initially we were told that we would still do the morning activity, which was to walk along the sandy beach on Española and to go swimming if we chose, but moments after that we were told that the national park officials had closed the park to all activities. Now we were disappointed.
10 am – talk by Carolina about the history of human settlement in the Galápagos (her grandfather was Fritz Angermeyer).
10:30 am – we hear the anchor being raised.
10:40 am – Alex announced that another earthquake had occurred in Chile and a second tsunami warning had been issued. The Ecuadorian navy had ordered all ships out to sea.
12:30 pm – Lunch. (Radish and heart-of-palm salad, rolled turkey breast, potatoes, beans, and carrots.)
2:30 pm – Video, “Dragons of the Galápagos”, about marine iguanas and other animals.
3 pm – Open ocean. The ship is rolling noticeably from side to side.
6 pm – The tsunami went by but as we were out in deep water, we couldn’t tell. Reports from Puerto Ayora say there was damage to the docks, and the water level went up far enough to flood the main floor of the Angermeyer restaurant where we had eaten lunch yesterday. Damage has also been reported on other islands.
9 pm – went to bed. We still can’t anchor anywhere so we are heading to Floreana Island in the hope that by tomorrow we will be able to carry on our activities.