The Galapagos Islands are unique in their ability to inspire awe and wonder no less today than they did 500 years ago, when they first were visited by explorers.
This is due to their remoteness 600 miles off the equatorial coast of South America as well as to the vigilance of the Ecuadorian government which, despite limited resources, has zealously guarded and managed the archipelago for the benefit of future generations.
Although they are best experienced from the deck of a large yacht, there are none available for charter in the Galapagos because of the governments wish to protect the business of local tour boat owners. At the same time, the sheer distance of the Galapagos Islands from typical yachting watering holes makes cruising there extremely time and fuel-consuming, so few yachts visit.
Besides encounters with sharks, sea lions, penguins, sea turtles, salt-water iguanas, giant tortoises, nesting albatrosses and blue-footed boobies, the Galapagos offered unique experiences for Big Fishs passengers
But in the case of Big Fish, a 45m motor yacht from Aquos Yachts, the Galapagos lay between her birthplace of Auckland, New Zealand, and her first public showing during 2010s Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show.
For owner Richard Beattie, a visit aboard his yacht to the islands made famous by Charles Darwin in his epochal book On the Origin of Species was essential. Thus, less than three months and more than 5,000 miles into the life of his yacht, Beattie gathered some of his closest friends and business associates for a once-in-a-lifetime visit to the Galapagos.
It was a spectacular trip for us, says Beattie, a businessman based in Hong Kong who owns Aquos Yachts. I had been to the Galapagos before, but it was very, very special to be there on my own yacht with people I love and admire. It was especially wonderful because exploring and enjoying the sea is why I built _Big Fish.
Enjoying snorkelling and diving from our fantastic tender and feeling connected to the magnificent scenery thanks to our floor-to-ceiling windows made the entire week absolutely magical.
Besides encounters with sharks, sea lions, penguins, sea turtles, salt-water iguanas, giant tortoises, nesting albatrosses and blue-footed boobies, the Galapagos offered unique experiences for Big Fish's passengers. It was also the first equator crossing for some.
King Neptune (Captain Winston Joyce-Clarke) appeared from the galley carrying large vats of a concoction consisting of cereal, coffee grinds, orange juice, whipped cream, oils, spices and spaghetti.
Beattie and his guests were roused from their sleep in the wee hours by the sounds of the crew banging pots and pans, pounding on their doors and setting off air horns. They were ordered to report to the bow deck in their oldest clothes. Here they were unceremoniously tied up and ordered to drink shots of rum.
When sufficiently prepared for their ordeal, King Neptune (Captain Winston Joyce-Clarke) appeared from the galley carrying large vats of a concoction consisting of cereal, coffee grinds, orange juice, whipped cream, oils, spices and spaghetti. The guests were soused and plied with more ceremonial rum, before being subjected to a thorough cleansing courtesy of Big Fishs MCA fire hose.
Beattie was among the crews victims, and he won high marks for valour by eating the spaghetti draped over his head. Some of the crew were also experiencing their first equator crossing, which resulted in a reverse ceremony. Fortunately, there was enough spaghetti concoction and rum left over.