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Intentional Blackout on the Santa Cruz II: A Nod to Earth Day

Intentional Blackout on the Santa Cruz II: A Nod to Earth Day

With 365 days a year, dedicating a single day to honour the planet we live on doesn’t seem like too much of an inconvenience, does it? Even less if it’s during a weekend like it is this year! Taking a day (or in this case, creating a blackout) to acknowledge the powerful influence we as humans have over this planet is one of the most important mental exercises we can do. If a drop of water can change the ocean, one leaky faucet or a piece of trash can change the condition of our world entirely. Ever since it was founded back in 1970, Earth Day has served as a reminder for all of us living on this planet – with its beautiful places and fragile ecosystems – that we must never refrain from helping create a cleaner world.

Metropolitan Touring is a well-known and respectable company that’s always been committed to the environment and its preservation. For over 60 years, we’ve been the pioneers in ecologically responsible tourism in Ecuador, and this year we wanted to share that goal with all our passengers aboard the Santa Cruise II Galapagos cruise.

The Santa Cruz II, in many ways, serves as a mini-planet of sorts, allowing us to perceive just how big of an impact we can make with a simple change in our behaviour and habits.

Our Own Little Blackout Experiment: All Systems Go

An example of this would be a while back when, during Earth Hour, we sought to try and make people more conscious about the little changes we can all choose to make and how, by doing so, we can better preserve and avoid wasting as much energy as we normally do.



Knowledge is power and power, as we have come to realize, is not unlimited. Producing energy, and by this we mean electric energy, is actually quite time-consuming, costly and tends to be very harmful for the environment. Here on board the Santa Cruz II Cruise Ship we try to do our part by keeping and maintaining the generators (along with any other equipment that is needed to produce and distribute energy throughout the entire boat unit).

Less Is Better (and Might Even Mean More)

When it comes to energy, there are many was to look at it.  You can calculate how much energy you are producing, how much energy you are storing, how much energy you are using and how much energy you have left. To put all of this into perspective we took a closer look at all the energy we use on board and it turns out that the biggest amount of electricity we require goes to the water heaters.  It takes a lot of energy to run such big heaters that can supply hot water to all our cabins. We have fifty-one passenger cabins with a total capacity of ninety guests (plus another twenty cabins for all the crew needed to sail the boat and treat our guests); altogether we have about fifty crew members on board at all times. For Earth Hour we decided to not run these gigantic water heaters for an entire hour and the energy consumption for the entire boat dropped drastically.

Blackout: The Control Room Darkens

After the water heaters where turned off, we decided to keep on looking for more ways to reduce hour energy consumption and decided to follow everyone around the world by turning off most of the lights on board. It was black out time. And in terms of the mechanics it involves, this was actually surprisingly easy to do – all it took was one single breaker to turn off nearly all of the lights and create a controlled blackout. We kept the emergency lights on and, for technical reasons did not completely shut down all the generators to have a total blackout. A complete blackout would have been a major hassle as there is a lot of delicate navigational equipment that requires re-calibration after a complete loss of power (which is why we decided to only turn off the lights. The energy consumption dropped down to almost nothing, and most of our guests were thrilled to be included in this international event.  We also had a chance to test our emergency lighting equipment and we’re very happy to report that we passed this “emergency drill” (but more like Earth Hour/Day drill) with flying colours.

Martín Barreiro

Martin Barreiro, born and raised in Quito in 1982, began studying photography as soon as he got out of high school. Soon after this, he found himself with the opportunity to live in London, England, which is where he continued his career in photography while experiencing the European culture. Afterwards, he moved to Houston, Texas, where he got a degree as a Professional Commercial Photographer.

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