WATCH: Galapagos Cruisers Get Stunning Volcano Views
PHOTO: Wolf Volcano provides a colorful spectacle for cruise passengers in Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands. (Via Twitter)
Passengers on adventure cruises in Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands got some pretty extraordinary views of the fiery lava flows from the long-dormant Wolf Volcano. Ships including Lindblad Expeditions’ National Geographic Endeavour, Silversea Cruises’ Silver Galapagos, and Metropolitan Touring’s Yacht La Pinta maneuvered so their guests could watch rivers of lava flow into the sea during the May 25 eruption.
Lindblad shared a stunning video of the volcano’s first eruption in three decades, with some passengers drinking in the sight while sipping from glasses of wine.
“We think it’s so cool. It’s pretty much the coolest happy hour!” one guest said. “We feel very lucky and fortunate that we’re here for it.”
Another said the sight was “really, really remarkable” and a “once-in-a-lifetime experience.”
Lindblad’s philosophy is to divert from the itinerary to follow wildlife and natural occurrences when safe, so the National Geographic Endeavour captain set course after an equator-crossing celebration to head toward the northern side of Isabela Island to view Wolf Volcano at dusk. As night fell, they watched “a braided red line coming down the flanks of the mountain, almost, but not quite, reaching the sea. Just as they reached 800 yards from the coast, the foremost section of the lava flow reached the ocean,” Lindblad reported. “For the next two hours they stayed and watched as more and more of the flow reached the sea, and more billowing clouds rose in the air.”
Here’s the Wolf Volcano video shot aboard National Geographic Endeavour, via Lindblad Expeditions:
Metropolitan Touring said its 207-foot Yacht La Pinta was in the right place at the right time to witness Wolf Volcano blow its top. “While not quite as spectacular as the last in 1982, the May 25 eruption still packed a punch,” the company said. “Lava flowing southwest from the volcano lit the night and sent a large column of smoke rising more than 10 kilometers (about 6 miles). Lightning and thunder developed.”
The volcano, which has the highest elevation in the Galapagos, is home to the world’s only pink land iguanas, but they did not appear to be harmed by the lava. “Indeed, currently Metropolitan Touring’s expedition staff has no knowledge of direct or indirect effects of the eruption reaching any fauna species,” the company said.
The Galapagos National Park tweeted similar news in Spanish. Here is a Google-translated version: “The living area of turtles and iguanas are kept safe. The eruption is on the southeast flank of the volcano Wolf.”
A park spokeswoman later elaborated, saying no species appeared harmed as of now. "This is a natural process," she said via email. "When the eruption will finish, we will monitor to register the change in the ecosystem."
The action isn’t over yet. Metropolitan Touring said it will adjust itineraries so guests can see the volcano, which isn’t normally part of its cruise itineraries. Its three vessels — Yacht La Pinta, Yacht Isabela II, and Santa Cruz — take advantage of the area’s deep waters and take a slight detour to a safe viewing distance. It will continue to do so while the phenomenon lasts.
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