FIRST SIGHTING OF GIANT OCEAN SUNFISH, MASTURUS, IN GALAPAGOS

Lindblad Expeditions’ Staff Spots Unexpected Visitor off the Coast of Espanola Island

MEDIA CONTACT

Jennifer Gregoire Lindblad Expeditions (212) 261-9008 jenniferg@expeditions.com

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

New York, NY, February 22, 2008 – Lindblad Expeditions (www.expeditions.com), the expedition travel pioneer with a strong commitment to conservation, has announced another first – a giant sunfish sighting in the waters off the southernmost island in the Galapagos archipelago. This sharp-tailed giant ocean sunfish, Masturus, has never been witnessed in Galapagos.

The gargantuan sunfish was discovered on February 3rd by staff onboard Lindblad Expeditions’ ship, the National Geographic Polaris.Lindblad staff members, Giovanni Chero and Antonio Gallardo, were out in a small inflatable zodiac boat when they first noticed the fish. The duo quickly realized the fish was atypical for the region and they swiftly jumped into action – documenting the fish with both a video camera and a still camera.

Word quickly spread through the National Geographic Polaris of the sighting. Polaris Expedition Leader, Cindy Manning, immediately reached out to renowned naturalist Carlos Romero, who was also in Galapagos onboard another Lindblad ship, the National Geographic Islander. Romero, well versed in the land and marine species of the Galapagos Islands, was the first person to identify the fish as Masturus. The National Geographic Polaris crew then reached out to Tierney Thys, a National Geographic Emerging Explorer and sunfish expert, who confirmed the classification. Said Manning, “it is terribly thrilling to be involved in the sighting of a new species in Galapagos; I’ve waited 23 years for this!”

Masturus, commonly referred to as a sharp-tailed sunfish, can reach gigantic sizes with the record holder weighing in at more than 1800kg (4000 pounds).The species, which lives mainly on a diet of jellies, was first identified in 1840 in Mauritius. The species is typically found in temperate waters and has been seen by submersibles in the Atlantic at depths greater than 600m (2000 feet).

Encountering the magic and wonder of the world is nothing new at Lindblad Expeditions. The Lindblad Family has had many “firsts”, including building the first purpose built expedition ship and bringing the first lay travelers to Galapagos. Still, having been a pioneer in exploration for so many years doesn’t diminish the excitement of this company’s latest discovery. Sven Lindblad, President and Founder of Lindblad Expeditions, said “discovering new things is what expedition travel is all about. Nothing excites me more than the opportunity to showcase the splendor and beauty of the natural world and this Masturus sighting allows us to do just that.”

About Lindblad Expeditions

Lindblad Expeditions is an expedition travel company providing voyages in the Galápagos, Antarctica, Baja California, Alaska, the Arctic, and beyond. Sven Lindblad has received international recognition, including the 2007 Global Tourism Business Award, 2007 Seafood Champion Award, U.N. Programme Global 500 Award, and recognition from HRH, Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg for his dedication to the conservation and environmental stewardship of the Galápagos archipelago. The company has also been named #1 Small-Ship Cruise Line (Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best Value Awards 2006); “The Best Ships in the World” and “The Best Itineraries” (Condé Nast Traveler: Truth in Travel Awards 2006).

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