The company introduced international adventure expeditions to the Galápagos more than 50 years ago.
Godmother Angela Flaim
Angela Flaim, wife of the late longtime Lindblad leader and passionate Galápagos conservation advocate Juan Flaim, served as the godmother for a ceremony that took place in Black Turtle Cove, Santa Cruz Island.
National Geographic Islander II's guests, local dignitaries, company leaders and media cheered from Zodiacs as Flaim and Lindblad Founder and Co-Chair Sven-Olof Lindblad smashed an environmentally friendly champagne bottle on the bow.
'May this ship be blessed with calm seas, curious minds and caring hearts as her guests celebrate the beauty and wonder of these islands and Ecuador. I wish those lucky enough to sail with her, both crew and guests alike, experience the joy that is only possible when we explore life passionately,' Flaim said.
The occasion was also an opportunity to highlight the pillars and legacy that distinguish Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic — from its commitment to conserve the globe’s most critical and breathtaking regions, to its assurance of carbon neutrality, from supporting local communities to preserving culture.
'Our mission in motion'
'This incredible ship is our mission in motion, exciting guests to what we know about this wild place and even more importantly, to what is yet to be discovered,' Lindblad said. 'As the pioneers in Galápagos tourism, our expertise and commitment to genuine engagement with this region’s natural wonders provides our guests with extraordinary, life-changing experiences and a lifelong passion to protect these incredible and fragile environments.'
Research team's deep-sea monitoring campaign
Lindblad added he was especially delighted to be hosting local marine scientists from the Charles Darwin Foundation and Galápagos National Park Directorate, in partnership with the National Geographic Society’s Exploration Technology Lab on this voyage. The research team is continuing a deep-sea monitoring campaign in the Galápagos Marine Reserve to assess the biodiversity and distribution of organisms and habitats on the largely unchartered underwater mountains that exist thousands of meters under the surface.
The last exploration campaign, conducted in 2019, uncovered two apex predator shark species that were previously unknown to be inhabiting the Galápagos Marine Reserve, as well as a kelp forest. This year, the team will regroup on National Geographic Islander II for 10 days to re-survey the sites where key observations were made during the pilot study, as well as to explore new sites in search of yet unknown species.
A transformed ship
The former Crystal Esprit was renovated into a 48-passenger, all-suite vessel with a Science Hub and other features. It replaced the 48-passenger National Geographic Islander.
National Geographic Islander II carries a fleet of kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, a custom-built glass bottom Zodiac and flotilla of versatile Mark V Zodiacs.