CNH Tours - Cultural and Natural Heritage Tours Galapagos
Saturday July 15, 2023
Special Guest on our Integrity Trip
We had a special guest on our Ocean Safari trip on the Integrity recently. Romina Cahuana is an environmental education assistant at the Charles Darwin Research Station in Puerto Ayora, Galapagos. She's a Galapagos native - having been born there around the time CNH Tours owners were living and working at the Darwin Station themselves.
It turns out that we had some unsold spaces on our charter – and we wondered if and how we could make best use of them. We approached the ship owners (the Sievers family – whose patriarch arrived in Galapagos from Switzerland in the 1950’s and whose sons, still Galapagos residents, are now mostly in charge of the ship). They enthusiastically supported the idea of inviting someone for the Charles Darwin Research Station to come aboard, at no extra cost.
We approached our friend, Rakan Zahawi, the director of the Station and asked him to help find a suitable candidate. He in turn offered the opportunity to Romina. Romina has a bachelor’s degree in Education Sciences, obtained in Quito. In 2021, she volunteered with the Charles Darwin Foundation's Community Education and Outreach Program and currently works in the program as an Environmental Education Assistant and is committed to supporting efforts to improve education in her community.
Selfie on the Integrity (Leon Dormido / Kicker Rock in the background)
We asked her how the trip might have influenced her perspective on things, how it might have contributed to her ability to do her work. She responds:
The Integrity experience has been an opportunity to fall in love once again with the place where I was born and grew up. It has also been a time for me to pause and observe unique details that the flora and fauna of Galapagos has that I had not realized before. Observing the birds, both marine and terrestrial, was my favorite part and my curiosity to continue learning about them has only grown.
This motivates me to continue working to cultivate curiosity and wonder in more local youth so they will love the place around them every day.
The Station director also recognized the value in offering this kind of opportunity to his team:
Thanks Marc for this opportunity and apologies I didn’t get back to you quicker. I was traveling last day or so and this is a great example of how fast some opportunities move in Galapagos! Anyway, glad you took the liberty of reaching out to us and that helped to get this moving. Hopefully you can accommodate Romina onboard - a fantastic opportunity for a staff member and chance to engage with visitors - and thanks for thinking of us!
Rakan A. Zahawi, PhD
Charles Darwin Foundation
More on the Integrity
The Integrity is a 16-passenger luxury ship. It’s one of the few remaining ships in Galapagos that is locally owned and operated. It’s one of the ships we first turn to when guests approach us looking for a full-on Galapagos experience with top quality guides, while also wanting a bit of extra comfort on board. Having good personal relationships with the ship owner brings a lot of advantages to us, and by extension, to our guests. It’s one of the criteria we rely on when deciding which ships to work with in Galapagos.
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