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13 September 2012 / leggypeggy

Boating through the Galapagos Islands

New Flamingo

New Flamingo on the right

Poor John and I don’t really ‘do’ deluxe travel. Give us a tent and a couple of roll mats and sleeping bags, and we’re pretty right.

So our budget yacht/boat in the Galapagos suited us perfectly. We were on the New Flamingo—a two-star craft with a five-star crew. You need to know that two stars don’t mean rickety or sub-standard boat. They mean a seaworthy craft, capable crew, small and basic cabins, good food but nothing gourmet, no cocktail hour and like-minded travellers.

Coffee urn stand

The captain and mechanic made a stand for the coffee urn

The New Flamingo is 45 feet long and has a maximum speed of 8 knots per hour. It was built in 1994 and refurbished in 2007. But refurbishment seems to be ongoing because the boat hardly ever comes off the water to be worked on. Every day, a member of the crew was ‘wearing’ new dabs of paint on their arms or face. One project was to make a stand to hold the coffee urn firmly in place.

The boat takes 10 passengers in five cabins, and we had a full complement. Our cabin was narrow and small—a set of bunk beds (I always get the top), two shelves, a light bulb, a small bathroom with a hot-shower sprayer and WINDOWS!

Two-star boats rarely have hot showers, so this was a big bonus for us. There were also two nice but small deck areas and one largish dining area. And of course, there was the crew’s domain, including the kitchen. Nothing like a boat to show you the true meaning of a galley kitchen.


Our little panga trails behind

There was also a panga, the small boat that we used to get to shore. It was interesting to see how Lenin, the assistant captain, maneuvered us to shore. He reversed in and lifted the motor as we glided toward the beach or other landing.

The Galapagos Islands are so fragile, and great care needs to be taken at every stage. That’s one of the reasons the average number of people per boat is 16. While there are boats that carry up to 100 passengers, our little boat is closer to the norm.

Fellow travellers

On dry land in the Galapagos—our fellow travellers

In addition to having a great crew of six (Including our knowledgeable and enthusiastic guide, Rodrigo), we had great travelling companions. There was a good range of ages and six nationalities represented—Spanish, Dutch, German, English, Australian and American.

Each evening, Rodrigo gave us a briefing for the next day and posted a new schedule of activities. The boat usually travelled the longer distances at night, stopping by 10 or 11 for the night. The seas were rough-ish and some of the group were seasick. That’s probably one of the downsides on a smaller boat.

I sleep well in a rocking boat or moving train, so made a beeline for bed about 8 each night. We had a wonderful five days and I’d do it all again with the same boat, crew and companions.

P.S. Thanks to Natalie at Oasis Overland for organising this for us. And here’s more about the boat if you ever want to book for yourself.

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Leave a Comment
  1. Jenni Howard / Dec 3 2012 1:08 pm

    Ah! so weird, you must have been on the boat the days before me! I was on with the blond German couple in your picture! Rodrigo was so lovely! Brilliant guide…showing us everything proper to galapagos ;0) and Lennin was such a lovely lovely guy, Mr Co captain. Ah so happy to have found this blog. The Galapagos was such a high light for me…Hope you guys enjoyed it as much as me!


    • leggypeggy / Dec 9 2012 2:14 pm

      Hi Jenni! We loved the Galapagos too, and the crew was wonderful. So glad you dropped by the blog. Thanks!



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