Category: Travel & Tours

Galapagos Whale Shark Project – 2020 Research Trip ReportGalapagos Whale Shark Project – 2020 Research Trip Report


The Galapagos Whale Shark Project held (just) a research trip to the Galapagos during the COVID Pandemic of 2020.

I recently spoke with Jonathan Green & Jenny Waack from The Galapagos Whale Shark Project (GWSP), where we discussed their research trip in 2020, about how it almost didn’t go ahead, the difficulties they faced & the results which are both positive & tragic.

The logo of the Galapagos Whale Shark Project with Jon & Jenny the directors.

Photo: Jonathan Green & Jenny Waack with the Logo from the Galapagos Whale Shark Project.

Last year was tough, the COVID pandemic has affected everyone in some way or form. When COVID first started to spread international borders started shutting very quickly, (some say slammed shut) to stop the spread. If you were overseas away from your home country, you had to scramble to make a flight back before the borders were closed (unfortunately some did not make it in time & are still trying to make it home…).

The GWSP’s research trip was scheduled for June 2020, but as COVID-19 started to spread & international travel restrictions starting, it was uncertain whether it would run. With several months waiting to see what would eventuate, there started to be the hope of a window of opportunity in July, as travel was just starting to be opened between Ecuador, the US & the Galapagos. They decided to push for July but they faced the issue of permits & permission from the Galapagos National Park Authority to get out to the dive sites. The permission came through, but the trip now had to be rescheduled for August. Lucky at this time the borders between the USA, Ecuador & the Galapagos were open, but not for most parts of the world which meant their partners from AUS, NZ, US & Japan could not make it.

This meant that the team numbers & funding was unfortunately down, as the partners also contributed to the overall cost. A deal was stuck with a tuna tagging program that would help share the vessel & costs.


Although travel was open for the team it was a difficult trip to get there. Jon & Jenny had to travel into the US to pick up equipment, which meant a PCR test to get in, await results, a hotel stay, then back into mainland Ecuador, which meant another test ( await results) & then 14 days in quarantine, then after that, over to the Galapagos for another PCR test (another wait on results) & a wait for the 72 hours for their equipment from the mainland to go through quarantine as well. Add to this the flight delays & flight restrictions compounded by the uncertainty that the borders may shut at any time, it was a hard few weeks.

Jon & Jenny from the Galapagos Whale Shark Project about to board a flight to the Galapagos Islands during the COVID pandemic

Photo: Jon & Jenny before boarding a flight to the Galapagos Islands


On arrival to the Galapagos in August, they noticed straight away how quiet it was. Jonathan first travelled to the Galapagos over thirty years ago & he remembers that first time arrival. Back then it was a small community, quiet, no real tourists & the stares from locals at “who are these people”. It felt like it had gone back in time with no taxis, no cars, shops were closed & the locals looking at them as they were from another planet. However the team did notice that the community had banded together & become self-sufficient, with the growth of their own vegetables, the interaction of community members with art fairs, the creation of opportunities, like making chocolate, & masks. This action had led back to the age-old form of the barter, a community trading with each other for their needs, a completely different feel than just relying on the tourist dollar. (A positive in such a small community, hopefully, the banding & interaction of the community stays into the future as tourists return.)

The team from the 2020 Galapagos Whale Shark Project research trip.

The Team- Jules Paredes — DIRECCIONDEL PARQUE NACIONAL GALÁPAGOS, Jonathan Green — GWSP, Alex Hearn — UNIVERSIDAD SAN FRANCISCO DE QUITO, Jenny Waack — GWSP, Sophia Green — GWSP.

The partners for the Galapagos Whale Shark Project

Photo: The GWSP teams partners & sponsors


After loading the vessel, they set out on their 15-day trip to their research destination of the Darwin Islands. At this point, the team was worried about the impact of the reported international fishing fleets in the area. Over 200 vessels were just sitting outside of the Galapagos marine area plundering the ocean. (The vessels were being heavily followed by the public & had been found to switch off their marine tracking & duck into the Ecuadorian waters around the Galapagos to illegally fish). Thankfully, they didn’t encounter any vessels in the area on their way out which could be due to the Ecuadoran navel which had conducted a crackdown on illegal fishing, just before they arrived.

Upon arrival at the dive site, they went straight to work to check out the conditions. The goal was to tag 10 whale sharks, photo ID them & take blood samples (this is conducted in a non-invasive way).


The team would begin diving around 5.30–6 am, out of the water by 7 am, then the second dive around 10 am, with the final dive after lunch around 2.00 pm. All dives were a maximum of 60 minutes with all dives completed & out of the water by 3.00 pm for safety (currents are strong so there was a concern of divers travelling long distances). The afternoon was used for data download, analysis of blood samples (measurements of the blood gas concentrations & lactate acid levels which are used to determine the basic health of the animal) & the id of photos.

The dives were conducted in teams of four divers. The idea was to Jump in at Darwin then use currents to travel from the north or south, which is safer. Once underwater the divers position staggering themselves at depth along the rocks to search for the whale sharks. Once spotted the group would signal each other & come together so that one person was to tag, one person to photo, one person to draw blood (if a whale shark notices the drawing of blood or felt uncomfortable in any way it was not pursed or hassled, most do not notice the drawing of blood), then the fourth diver acted as a safety & documentation diver with a camera.

The Galapagos Whale Shark team at work drawing blood & the other team members videoing.

Photo: A diver drawing blood with video documentary being taken.


The team managed to tag a total of 10 individual sharks, with eight SPLASH-10 tags on eight females ranging from 4 to 14 metres, two MiniPAT & Spot8 hybrid tags to were attached to a juvenile female & male. Of the ten only 9 reported. 3 stopped within 60 days and they lost contact with them over the abyssal plain. Only 3 continued past the 6-month mark and none have reported for over 2 months now. However, Jon notes that he has tags go “dark” for almost 4 months so still has hope data will surface.

The SPLASH10 tags record both vertical & horizontal movements but are expensive at around $4000USD including the clamp & SAT time. The results offer very accurate data which can be used to determine the areas visited by the whale sharks which can then be used to create conservation areas. Spots & MiniPATS are two tags, the Spot tags mainly record horizontal movements & MiniPATS mainly record vertical movement. Blood was taken from six whale sharks.

A Splash 10 type tag used by the Galapagos Whale Shark Team to track whale sharks. Notice the clamps.

Photo: A Splash10 type tag, with the clip.

A SPLASH 10 type satellite tracking tag deployed on a whale shark by the Galapagos Whale Shark Project.

Photo: A tag attached

A graph showing the depth of a tagged whale shark from the Galapagos Whale Shark Project before it came off due to the extreme depth.

Photo: The dive profile of the 10-meter female. The tags are not rated for such depth & tend to implode, which is unfortunate as the whale shark diving over 2000 meters.


Three main important points were noted:

  1. Evidence of a travel corridor from the Galapagos to Cocos Islands — The satellite tracking of a whale shark from the Galapagos Island’s to Cocos Islands. The first time  the data has shown this corridor, amplifying the need for a marine park covering this route.
  2. A Whaleshark returns to the original area of tagging — A tagged female was noted on an 80-day trip originating in the Galapagos Islands & returning to the same area she was tagged.
  3. The Whale sharks dispersed in different directions but crossed later in the same areas — the tagged juvenile Male headed to the eastern pacific then back under to the south then entered the same area as the females off the coast of Peru. The tagged females all left in different directions, the female juveniles in a different direction than the female adults. The tagged male & the female juveniles crossed through the same area off the coast of Peru but the data is inconclusive if it was the same time.

The pathways the tagged whale sharks took using the satellite tracking from the Galapagos Whale Shark Projects tags.

Photo: All tags overlayed. Over to the right, you can see the intersection of three tags.


Originally the team had two trips planned but due to the continuing situation, they have had to schedule only one on the 24 August 2021. The team will join up with the Georgia Aquarium who will have a vet tech that will analyse blood samples for gas, lactose, baseline health, & nano plastics in their system on a cellar basis.

The study of the nano-plastics is a new area of study & they are hoping to show what level such nano-plastics are invading filter feeders. Unfortunately, no ultrasound again as the team from Japan cannot make it.

They hope this will provide more data on the Galapagos to Cocos Island corridor, whale shark return trip tracking & show new data on the amount of nano-plastic showing up in the marine life food chain (it’s a case of how much not if…).

A whale shark in the waters of the Galapagos National Park.

Photo: A cruising Whale Shark


Donations — Currently the Galapagos Whale Shark team is in the process of registering as an organisation (a “.org”) in the USA. They have filed all the necessary paperwork & are awaiting confirmation from the correct department, but due to the backlog caused by the COVID situation, it is taking longer than normal. Once this has been confirmed it allows the organisation to list on such sites as Gofundme, which will allow direct contributions to help with direct expedition funding as well as for the tags. Presently you can make a donation on their website here. C

Support dive trips — The GWSP conducts charter trips under the Galapagos Shark Dive banner. Each trip is accompanied by one of the team members who will offer tips on how to photograph whale sharks for the visual id requirements (and general photography tips), informative presentations & a shore excursion to learn more about the wildlife that inhabits the Galapagos Islands. These trips will not be involved in the tagging or taking blood samples, it is an informative & relaxing trip. Your support on these trips will help spread the word about the organisation & a part of your trip cost will go directly to help the shark expedition later in that year. (Pelagic Dive Travel also offers a donation to the scientific trip from each booking through them).

Photo Identification — Photo Identification is a passive tracking mechanism. From the 5th gill slit to the end of the pectoral fin, the whale shark’s markings make up a unique pattern that serves to identify each shark as an individual. If you see a whale shark photograph it & upload to Wildbook where it will be added to the database.

The Wildbook Website were the ID for Whale Sharks are recorded. Anyone can record a whale shark they have seen.

Photo: The data upload into Wildbook.


The case of “Hope” highlights that the work The Galapagos Whale Shark Project is doing. Without the tagging of Hope which showed that she must have been caught & transported through international waters,(see photo 12 below), we would not have realised the extent of such proliferation of our marine world. The GWSP team is dedicated & committed to protecting whale sharks as well as the entire marine environment.

We as divers, people who use the ocean & in reality all of us should be taking note that the marine environment is being decimated & we need to support the protection of it for our future generations.

An overlay of the tag from the Whale Shark & the fishing fleets in the same area, hence the belief Hope was taken...

Photo: The overlay of the tagged whale shark “Hope” with the fishing activity in shade… Her last two transmissions were just 32 minutes apart and during this time she had travelled a distance of approximately 3.8nm. This could be satellite error but if true her speed would be between 6-8 knots per hour, a figure far too high to be a swimming whale shark that might average 1.5 knots per hour with a maximum speed of around 3 knots. Her position was then compared with fishing activities in the area at the time of her disappearance using Global Fishing Watch & you can see that she had been constantly swimming through areas of extremely intense fishing for much of the time she was in international waters and at the time of her last reported position. Theres no way to prove it but this means she was picked up by the fishing fleet…

Travel and Book an Airport Transfer Travel and Book an Airport Transfer 

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Turn Your Hiking Journey Into a Glamping TripTurn Your Hiking Journey Into a Glamping Trip

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Save yourself Time and Money by Pre-Booking Luton Airport Vehicle ParkingSave yourself Time and Money by Pre-Booking Luton Airport Vehicle Parking

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Lightweight Transport Wheelchair Freedom Made SimpleLightweight Transport Wheelchair Freedom Made Simple

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Have You Ever Moved To Georgia?Have You Ever Moved To Georgia?

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China The Many Famous and Respected Tourist DestinationChina The Many Famous and Respected Tourist Destination

Yet another common place for nightlife is Shibuya. Shibuya encompasses the trendy childhood tradition of Japan , and this really is reflected in the fashion you will dsicover on the streets. Expect to find outlandish, exciting styles, contemporary seeking clothes, large hair, and crazy shoes. If it’s new and fascinating style you are trying to find, search no more than Shibuya. There are numerous foreigner pleasant places in Shibuya, but the true enjoyment is to find one of many a huge selection of small, secretly owned establishments to visit.Japan Nightlife: 10 Popular Places To Experience It Best!

Eventually, for a completely different Japan Nightlife knowledge, have a look at Shinjuku, about 10 minutes north of Shibuya by train. Shinjuku is the heart of urban Tokyo. West of the stop lies the skyscraper area and active persons in operation fits holding briefcases. To the east, however, are the shining lights and loud alleys of Shinjuku’s entertainment area, which include red mild district Kabukicho. Here you can find weird and occasionally weird types of entertainment. Mingle among salarymen concluding their day’s perform, or match individuals from new industries which have all arrived at kabukicho to curl up after a extended day. Style here is likely to be astonishing – be prepared to see the unexpected!

Japan is among the nations that have the best of equally worlds. It’s sophisticated in terms of engineering, and yet, it has had the oppertunity to keep its best heritage – its culture. Indeed, Japan did a fantastic feat as it could manage to remain as one of the world’s leading financial forces while still to be able to retain the roots of its past. And, as such, it is becoming one of the most intriguing places to visit – an abundant blend of record and technology.

There is number image of Japan more famous compared to the wonderful Cherry Blossoms. Certainly, the cherry bloom, with beauty so extreme but therefore fleeting, is something which you ‘ve got to see in the event that you ever visit Japan. They blossom during the months of May and May possibly, and by the finish of these weeks, they drop to the bottom like a dreamy layer of pink and white. There is no other view rather like it.

Japan is one of the several countries on the planet with its own Disney Land. And, obviously, as the Western are sticklers for lifestyle, their Disney Land is constructed with a remarkably Japanese Nightlife influence. It units it apart from all the such theme parks in the world. Tokoyo is one of the world’s greatest buying capitals. Ginza is a huge industry where you are able to discover such a thing you need, from the latest products and devices to the most recent manga discharge of your chosen anime series. Each day, you may also notice it altered in to the world’s biggest fish market. Indeed, Ginza is one position that you’d be sorry to miss.

Primarily, the Western are those who prefer everything to be clear and serene, this is exactly why they enjoy such peaceful activities as drinking, or instead, sipping tea. While you are in Japan , you must at the least experience genuine Japanese tea. Or better yet, you can be involved in the Western Tea Ceremony, a festival used equally in Kyoto and Tokyo.

In a few areas of the year, specially in cold weather, Japan gets lined in a cover of excellent bright snow. During this time period of the entire year, it would would you effectively to have some fun in Japan’s steep snow slopes. You may even participate in the Snow Festival where ice parties get area for a complete seven days and where you are able to see lovely ice sculptures. And, if parts of your muscles have to unwind a bit, why don’t you give yourself a delicacy by visiting one of many hot springs. These can be found generally in most elements of Japan , particularly in Okinawa. The calming steam is certain to get you to feel just like you’ve shed an extremely heavy load.

Vacation and Guide an Airport TransferVacation and Guide an Airport Transfer

Why should you pay extra, when you’re able to enjoy the same ease and quality at a fraction of the cost? Here you will see out more about the benefits of airport transfer services, and why you should consider these companies next time you book a journey!Gatwick Airport Taxi Service - London Gatwick Taxi Transfer

First and foremost, airport transfers are very easy and simple: after you have reached your location, the driver can load your luggage in to the car and take you straight to your destination. Probably the many notable benefit of airport companies around renting a car is that there is number paperwork to concern yourself with: number extensive agreements and number great prints at the end of the page. The airport move vehicle is going to be on the market awaiting you, even when your flight is delayed or your luggage is missing – unlike it occurs with renting a private airport car, which can be really time-consuming and bothersome. You understand just everything you get, and your transfer will require place in a very translucent manner. All you’ve got to accomplish would be to guide the airport move company ahead of time, and it’ll await you away from airport, ergo helping you save yourself plenty of time.

If you plan traveling to a international country, then you have to know that airport transfers gatwick airport are good if you should be not familiar with the local driving rules and regulations. There are some slight variations in one country to a different, so why chance finding a rushing admission or even having your driver’s certificate suspended as a result of something you’re not really acquainted with? Airport transfers are the best option in this instance: you can depend on the driver to take you to your location quickly and safely, for he is not just acquainted with the local legislation, but he also understands the language. You don’t need certainly to be concerned about getting missing, especially if you are visiting a big city.

Still another good thing about choosing airport move solutions is as you are able to choose different package deals – there are many various presents at your removal, and all you’ve got to accomplish is to focus on one that most readily useful matches your financial allowance and your needs. Despite common belief, soaring can be extremely tedious sometimes – not only have you got to deal with the plane lag, but you’ll also require to deal with the cabin pressure and the turbulence. Sometimes, you simply don’t manage to obtain enough sleep during your trip, and first thing you intend to do as soon as you achieve the airport would be to sit back and take a sleep! That would be difficult if you had your own vehicle or in the event that you leased one, but fortunately by having an airport transfer you are able to “renew your batteries” all how you can your destination.

Every one justifies to curl up a little after a long and stressful flight, and driving a car when you’re tired can have devastating consequences. This is the reason it is much better to be secure than sorry and to go for skilled, reliable and top quality airport transfers, as you will undoubtedly be in the secure hands of experienced drivers that will take the smallest path to your hotel. Besides, the very thought of having some one awaiting you outside the airport is also really relaxing and relieving!

Choosing The Right Vacation RentalChoosing The Right Vacation Rental

Allow them know what’s on in the area. Match and greet your guests. Give a local contact number. Meet your guests and show them how things work in the house, give a regional telephone number for almost any questions they could have, and a list of crisis services. Nothing of this fees a good deal, but is going to be appreciated by your customers. Don’t your investment wonderful concept, make sure that the property is spotlessly clean. Your entire work is for nothing if this simple principle is broken. Best of luck!United States Vacation Rentals, USA Holiday Homes, Florida ...

Locating a great holiday rental is no simple task it takes lot of difficult work. But when you follow particular steps you can find a wonderful holiday hire for your holiday. Vacation rentals (holiday villa) provide more amenities than most of resorts do not. Holiday rentals will provide you with complete kitchens and numerous bedrooms. By picking such a kind of property you’ll have a calm and calm Vacation Rentals by Owner. Many of these properties are collection back from the busy roads and thoroughfares. So it’s always better to choose a holiday hire in comparison to hotel.

Browse through the web and find out how is their destination. They provides you with a broad focus on the type of rental you are able to get. Put in writing your website handle of the rentals that you like. Many papers and journey agencies also have holiday rental sections. Learn all the data that’s needed about rentals and make a listing of them.

Make a listing of the rentals centered on your preferences. If you are preparing to travel together with your party, ask them their preferences. Places should also be provided with importance. Choose a vacation villa where you are able to get transport center easily, grocery and crucial web sites to visit. Make a list of points that you would like like amount of rooms you will need, other amenities such as for instance pool, beach, community transfer, laundry, washing service and food that is close by and other amenities that may be essential for you and your group. Today produce a list of “must haves” and “maybe haves “.

It’s essential that you decide on your own budget. Have a review of your selection and learn wherever you is likely to be most comfortable. Recognize homes you are interested in. Make one last set of the vacation rentals and match it with the should haves and the budget. Make a set of issues you want to require each one of these properties. In so doing you will have a way to review and prioritize your list of properties. Uncover what amenities are included and the additional volume that you have to pay. If some houses have memberships that go with your rentals, learn rules and rights that would perform well. You may save yourself as they give tennis fees, membership house discounts, boat rental savings and others.

Question the questions in your record and hear carefully. Look for pictures. If you can find reviews in the web, you’re lucky. If you can’t discover any information you’ve to rely on your intuition. Despite all your projects, if you wind up in a dungeon, you are able to spend some time visiting wonderful places or when you can expand on your allowance, transfer on. You have come here to enjoy. If any of your buddies keep because place ask him/her to see that property. That is very important if you have a huge class or family. You can spoil your own personal holiday, but you have to think twice when it is different people’s holidays. If you wish to appreciate together with your friends.