MV Samba

The Samba is an ideal boat for a photography adventure amongst the Galapagos Islands.

It’s a pretty boat, elegant in design, nice use of wood, sturdy in construction, and is lovingly cared for. 

It has great open deck space which enables us to move around when we find ourselves surrounded by dolphins – or wondering where the next whale will surface.

·     It sleeps 14 passengers – room for 10-12 photographers and two leaders comfortably.  Each cabin has a private bath and is air conditioned.

There are ample circuits for recharging batteries and supporting downloads. And the dining salon doubles as a great place to gather to talk photography.  It even has a large flat screen monitor we can access for lectures or orientations. 

·     And there is a great crew, all from the Galapagos, dedicated to moving us smoothly around the islands to our destinations – but also flexible and ready to pause en route when opportunity presents itself (usually when our guide spots whales or a pod of dolphins).

TheSamba’s chef has always surprised us by serving a great selection of fresh foods the full length of our itinerary.  The Samba is stocked with locally grown fruit and vegetables, largely organic.  And they specialize in sustainably harvested Galapagos seafood!


The Samba comes equipped with two inflatable dinghies that we use to move between ship and shore – and to explore some exciting mangrove-lined shallows, penguins roosting on rocks, and offshore nesting sites.

The Galapagos sailing routes and stops are strictly regulated by the National Park Service. The ownership of the Samba has worked hard to secure a great set of permitted routes, and landing spots and times that support our photographic quests. 

Juan, our guide, is determined to get us on shore for the best photographic opportunities.  Sometimes that is for first or last light.



Other times, there are specific wildlife cycles we need to interface – like when the waved albatross glide along the updrafts on Española’s cliff face…
or when the marine iguanas come up from feeding beneath the waves, needing to bask in the warm sun…



or when blue-footed boobies and pelicans dive into schools of fish.

Length: L.O.A.* 88 feet / 27 meters

Beam: 18 feet / 5.4 meters
Tonnage: 134 tons
Speed: 8.5 knots
Range: 2.500 miles
Sail: Genoa, Jib and Main
Water capacity: 1.500 gallons and water maker
Electric Power Supply: 110V & 220V (A/C)
*L.O.A.: length overall
Safety equipment:
One self-contained 20-passenger life raft, EPIRB (Emergency Positioning Indicating Radio Beacon), two bi-directional VHF emergency-radios, one VHF (Motorola) wide-range radio, VHF and HF radios and one Satellite and cell-phone communication system, life jackets, fire extinguishers, safety smoke and fire detectors and overhead sprinkler systems, A.B.C fire-control system and CO2 bank for the engine room.