In March the beautiful sailing yacht Alta, one of the more famous yachts in the Galapagos Islands, ran aground while entering the harbor at Puerto Ayora and had to be evacuated. Environmental damage to the Galapagos appeared to be minimal, and no one was injured in the wreck. Ever since we’ve been waiting for news on the fate of the Alta, with hopes that she would return to service in the Galapagos Islands soon. Sadly, word came today that the Alta is a total loss and will be retired. Bummer for sailing fans! The Alta was a beautiful boat with a fantastic Galapagos Islands itinerary and service, and she will be missed!
The good news is that Quasar Expeditions will be putting the trimaran Lammer Law back into service in the Galapagos to replace the Alta. We’ll have more information on the Lammer Law’s itinerary and service soon. Check out the message from Dolores Diez at Quasar:
Message from Quasar About the Alta:
It has been a little less than a month and a half since the Alta incident. When the accident took place we quickly and successfully evacuated all fuel and contaminants from the Alta to avoid harm to the environment. In addition, we worked closely with Galapagos National Park officials to keep the site of the accident clear of debris. At this point, the only matter left on the table is the removal of the hull from the grounding site, which is out of our hands and the responsibility of our insurance provider.
From the beginning, we worked together with our insurance company to find the quickest way to refloat the Alta. Unfortunately, the equipment and experts needed to do so were not readily available in Ecuador and any attempt to remove the Alta otherwise would have caused unnecessary damage to the site and the hull. Unfortunately the delay left the Alta susceptible to further damage by wind, tide and waves.
Subsequently, Hull and Machinery Insurance decided to declare the boat a total constructive loss. This fact has further delayed the removal, with the result that P&I coverage recently was delegated control over the situation. Going through a salvage bid process has taken more time, resulting in boat undergoing further battering by the sea. The length of these delays resulted in the sea taking a toll, far beyond the original damage, that has now extended to the hull, causing irreparable damage. The vessel is now the property of the insurance company.
We are deeply saddened to report this news and to see our legendary sailing yacht end her days in the Galapagos in such a way. We also understand how disappointing this is to our customers. We know that our guests look forward to their Galapagos adventures with great excitement and anticipation.
However, we have no intention of letting down our valued guests and we will therefore be offering the Lammer Law as the replacement for the Alta. In some cases we have already successfully moved other guests to both the Grace and Evolution. The Lammer Law already has a strong and positive reputation in the Galapagos and is perhaps the most legendary dive boat and adventure yacht in the Islands.
Based on years of experience we know that the Lammer Law offers an unforgettable experience equal to any in the Galapagos, though different in style from the Alta. We have currently begun refurbishing her to offer a high level of accommodations. Lammer Law will once again cruise her island home in the Galapagos beginning on June 20th, 2010.
Quasar has operated nearly 5,000 successful voyages in the Galapagos and we plan to offer many more to come.
Dolores Gangotena de Diez