STATE OF SUSTAINABLE GRACE
The Galapagos archipelago is an awe-inspiring, one-of-a-kind destination. No other place on Earth offers travelers the opportunity to get so close to such a wide variety of wildlife, sea life, and gorgeous landscapes.
Since the islands were first discovered in 1535, a large number of species have been introduced by humans – often before we understood the impact they would have on the natural ecosystem. Some were deliberately brought to the islands for agricultural and aesthetic purposes (such as chickens, cows, dogs, ornamental plants), while others were introduced unintentionally, including rats and various insects and pathogens. Today there are estimated to be almost 1,500 introduced species in the Galapagos Islands.
Quasar Expeditions – a UK-based luxury adventure outfit – is doing something about it.
While a trip to the Galapagos is certainly not just about the boat you take, that vessel can either detract from or enhance the experience of your adventure—which is why picking the right one is so important. Quasar Expeditions offers luxury cruises through the Galapagos Islands on their newly renovated yachts, the M/V Evolution and the M/Y Grace (formerly owned by Grace Kelly).
Sleeping just 18 guests, the uber-chic M/Y Grace comes complete with 360-degree decks and panoramic windows. The cruises operate on seven-night itineraries, allowing guests to get up close and personal with the islands’ amazing scenery and animals through snorkeling, swimming and kayaking. Not stopping at sexy and sophisticated, Quasar is inspired by the sensitive ecosystems of the Galapagos Islands and proudly operates with an impressive commitment to responsible tourism.
The Galapagos National Park system consists of approximately 95% of the 13 volcanic islands and associated islets west of Ecuador. Together they are home to one of the most evolutionarily significant environments in the world – one conservationists are working hard to protect. It’s a process that’s vital for the longevity of hundreds of exceptional species and one that’s managed together with the Charles Darwin Research Station (CDRS).
The company also supports the Galapagos Scouts, a group dedicated to the children of the Galapagos, providing them with the resources needed for conservation education, and it has begun working with scientists and activists in stopping the tragic sport of shark finning.
One of Quasar’s key partners on the ground is Godfrey Merlen, a local biologist committed to the conservation of wildlife on the islands. Originally from the UK, he moved to the Galapagos more than 45 years ago to work as a volunteer researcher. Since then, he’s worked for the National Park Service and other conservation agencies to positively and dramatically affect the state of flora and fauna throughout the islands – including aiding in the creation of the Galapagos Whale Sanctuary, working to develop the Special Law for the Galapagos and fighting illegal fishing in the Galapagos. These days, Merlen is working with the Galapagos National Park to control, limit and eliminate the risk of any further invasive species entering the islands. Efforts range from scanning every visitor’s bag on arrival and departure from the islands, to capturing and removing existing invasive mammals and plants.
Most recently renovated in 2017, the Grace and Evolution now include the latest technology in water treatment plants to protect the waters of Galapagos. “White” waters like shower and sink runoff go to a treatment plant that removes residues and large particles. In addition, all amenities onboard are biodegradable and non-toxic.
Quasar’s two yachts are also both single-use plastic free. They don’t use plastic straws and don’t serve any food or sweets in single-use wrappers. Drinking water comes from a desalinization plant that then purifies the water and adds minerals to make it drinkable. Guests are given their own stainless steel water bottles to refill daily at the water purifiers for their excursions.
Organic waste from the yachts is separated from non-organic by Quasar staff daily. The non-organic waste is partially recycled in Puerto Ayora’s recycling plant and the rest is stored to be returned to the mainland on one of the rubbish ships.
Quasar is currently compensating for 50% of the carbon emissions of its two ships with a reforestation effort in the Amazon of Brazil.
For more information visit https://www.quasarex.com/galapagos