As a follow-up to Randy’s 2016 Galápagos vessel scouting trip, I was sent to the Galápagos to perform onsite assessments of premier luxury yachts and catamarans in August 2018. My background in the environmental sciences provided a solid foundation when examining expedition routes, in addition to assessing the overall boat. Although I was there during the M/Y Integrity’s five-week maintenance period, Captain Angel Proano and the yacht left an indelible impression. Here is my review of the Integrity:
What sets the Integrity apart from every other yacht or catamaran is its earned experience. In its 10 years, the Integrity has never missed a day of service and arguably, has some of the most prestigious naturalist guides in all of the Galápagos. If you’re a fanatic in the fine details of the Galápagos’ natural history or its ever-evolving endemic ecosystems like myself, look no further.
Walking aboard the Integrity, my first impression fell to my feet: this small-sized yacht had impressive stability. Measuring at 141 feet, the Integrity’s electronically controlled stabilizers and engine vibration control system was arguably the most successful in deterring any serious or seasick-inducing rocking. There was a weighted security and balance to this yacht unparalleled to most other luxury yachts or catamaran I inspected.
The Integrity has a capacity of 16 passengers with 10 crew members and one naturalist guide. There are a total of six, 150 sq. foot staterooms on the Main Deck, one fixed-twin stateroom, and a 350 sq. foot Owner’s Suite. The standard staterooms offer plenty of space along with double windows, providing a scenic backdrop during your Galápagos exploration. A writing desk, small lounge, storage cabinet, and a full-sized shower make this feel like a fully functioning hotel room. The Owner’s Suite takes up the bow of the main deck, covering its entire width. For those desiring ultimate privacy and luxury, this does the job. Each room consists of an LCD TV with a DVD player, individual climate control, private ensuite bathrooms, and large double windows.
For rest and relaxation, passengers have a partially covered sun deck lounge with a 360-degree bar (with drinks and a soda machine for the kids!) for their choice of view. There is also a platform at the bow of the boat, which is the recommended spot for watching dolphins surf the bow waves. I was informed that at night time you can search for bioluminescent life in the water at the viewing platform!
With all the amenities, what cannot go unnoticed is the Cedrela, or Spanish cedar adorning the Integrity’s interior. Native to the American tropics, the wood used was grown and harvested by the family farm of Rolf Siever’s (the yacht’s owner) on Santa Cruz Island. Cedrela is the most favorable and supreme hardwood for yachts, due to its natural insect repellent nature and having an enjoyable cedar scent. More so, the family farm wood that decorates the interior shows the Siever family’s personal commitment to the Integrity’s legacy.
Ownership & Experience
Rolf Sievers is the owner of the Integrity yacht. Originally coming from Germany as a boy in the 1950’s, he became the first manager of the Charles Darwin Research Station, studying seismographs, and held this position for 10 years before leaving to start the Integrity yacht operation. To add to the Integrity’s experience, Rolf Sievers partnered with Bill Roberson, one of the first certified naturalist guides in the Galápagos and a scientist. Siever’s sons have become a part of the legacy as well, assisting in all matters of operation. That being said, the Integrity prides itself on its deep knowledge of the archipelago for the most immersive experience. The Integrity guide list reads like the who’s who of Galápagos’ most experienced guides: lead guide Richard Polatty, Greg Estes, Patricia Stucki, Fernando Ortiz, Jan Post, and Desiree Cruz. In addition, all naturalist guides have been with the Integrity for its full 10 years. Their lead naturalist guide is Richard Polatty, an American educated at Vanderbilt and Emory Universities. Prior to working as a naturalist guide for the Integrity, Richard was an Antarctic researcher at the Palmer Station. He has been traversing the seas exclusively for Bill Roberson since 1985 and currently resides on the Board of Directors for the Galápagos Conservancy. Having used Greg Estes on our last Integrity booking, we can personally vouch for his extensive scholarship of the Galápagos. His resume includes leading the Cambridge Centenary Galápagos Expedition as a trained biologist. Greg has worked as a naturalist in the Galápagos since 1982: leading trips, lecturing on Darwin, and conducting research. Estes and his wife, Thalia Grant, authored “Darwin in the Galápagos: Footsteps to a New World.” Thalia is also a well-established naturalist in her own right.
At the helm of the boat is Captain Angel Proano. While captains here in the Galápagos sleep during the day so they can navigate at night, word has spread that the captain is known for charming his guests at night with vivid artwork and illustration. The Integrity is a boat that checks all of the marks: it’s stable, has proven experience, luxurious amenities, and lastly, a supportive crew ready to make your Galápagos journey unforgettable.
For more information, do not hesitate to contact us!