Like Hawaii, the Galapagos Islands were impacted by the tsunami that resulted from the devastating earthquake that hit Japan on March 11, 2011. In general, the impact on the islands is not severe, but there was significant flooding in some areas. One of the areas that suffered the most significant damage with the Charles Darwin Research Center on Santa Cruz. The Marine Science labs flooded with several feet of water. Despite emergency preparation, waves destroyed a concrete pump house and broke massive wooden doors, flooding laboratories, workshops, and storage facilities, scattering furniture and equipment as far as 650 feet away.
Fortunately, no lives were lost. And tortoises (including Lonesome George) from the Park’s Tortoise Captive Breeding Center on Santa Cruz were temporarily relocated to higher ground.
There are some sensationalized reports of emergency supplies sent from the mainland to Ecuador and how hotels were destroyed. And while some hotels were flooded, no hotel was destroyed. The Finch Bay hotel which was one of the hardest hit reopened yesterday. The Red Mangrove’s lodge in Puerto Ayora will be back and operational by April 1. The amount of emergency supplies that the Ecuador military sent out is 6 tons. To put it in perspective, that is about six pick-up truck loads. Supplies were sent to assist those whose businesses and homes where impacted by the flooding.
Flights were canceled on Friday, but were operating once again by Saturday and all reports from Galapagos yachts state operations are back to normal.
Currently, the Charles Darwin Center is closed, but we will keep you posted as to its re-opening, which we are optimistic will be soon. If you have any specific questions on the impact of the tsunami in the Galapagos, or how it might impact your visit to the islands, do not hesitate to contact us at 1-800-344-6118.