CNH Tours - Cultural and Natural Heritage Tours Galapagos
Saturday March 12, 2011
Tsunami causes some damage to coastal properties in Galapagos
Yesterday's Japanese earthquake raised concern over a potential tsunami striking the Galapagos islands. There was plenty of warning, and necessary precautions were taken. Ships were instructed to sail to deep waters away from coastlines, and residents were asked to move to higher ground. The Galapagos National Park Service even moved Lonesome George to high ground (though apparently, in the past, events such as tsunamis are thought to have played in important role in dispersing giant tortoises amongst different islands in the Galapagos - they float quite well and can survive long periods in the sea!).
The tsunami was expected in late afternoon at came to pass a about 5:30 PM local time (about an hour before nightfall). Flights to the islands were cancelled, stranding some tourists. Flights are resuming today and beyond a bit of a backlog to deal with, people should be able to get out, or get in. Reports from Galapagos indicate significant damage, mainly to the contents of buildings located along the main seaside road in Puerto Ayora. One restaurant, Las Ninfas, in business for a long time, was severely damanged, with parts of the building completely destroyed. The main supermarket, Pro-insular, was flooded resulting in the loss of food and equipment. Hotels such as the Red Mangrove were also flooded, destrying ground floor furniture and equipment. The Finch Bay Hotel was also flooded on the ground floor, though most guest rooms were untouched. Though tourism has since returned to "business as usual", to be on the safe side, if you are to be spending a night in a Puerto Ayora or Puerto Baquerizo Moreno hotel in the next few days, it would be advisable to get in touch with them, or your agent, to get an update.
A similar tsunami warning was made last February, after the large Chile earthquake struck. Similar precautions were taken, and in the end, only what appeared to be a very high tide was felt in Galapagos then, with no repercussions.