A STONEHOUSE couple stranded in one of the remotest places on Earth is struggling to return home.
Jamie Spring, 27 and Abi Morris, 25, travelled to Ecuador’s iconic Galapagos Islands, and then the coronavirus pandemic hit during their visit.
Jamie said: “We’ve been travelling since October and have been in South America since December and these sanctions were announced immediately so we had no chance of being proactive and getting home.”
Now he says that food stocks are running low on the islands, some tourists are being asked to leave their hotels, and there is uncertainty over flights.
For the time being, Jamie and Abi are living in a hotel with a small group of people from around the world who also find themselves in the same situation.
There are no staff left working at the hotel, and the guests have access to the kitchen and pool.
Watch: Jamie gives an update on the situation:
The couple have been told that they may be able to get a flight from mainland Ecuador – which is around 800 miles from the Galapagos – back to Europe.
But first they must secure flights from the islands to the mainland.
They say the Galapagos Governing Council has been promising this ever since the islands went into lockdown, but the flights keep getting pushed back at the last minute.
Jamie told the SNJ: “But then late on Sunday night we had a message from the Galapagos Governing Council stating that they are working on more flights for Wednesday and Thursday.”
Jamie said that the British Embassy in Quito, Ecuador is closed, but he and Abi’s families have spoken to foreign office staff on the phone.
“They advised us to do whatever we can to get a flight to Europe, if we can’t get one to the UK. However, these are priced at £4K each and we’re unsure how long these will go on for.”
The couple are concerned that they may soon be the only ones left in the hotel, as German and Swiss members of their small group will soon be leaving, thanks to help from their countries’ embassies.
“The German Embassy have a flight off the island for a couple staying here. And the Swiss Embassy have also been in contact with another couple here and have said they will be doing the same,” said Abi.
“We have been in contact with the British embassy and Foreign Office for over a week but have heard no news like this, meaning we are likely to be the only ones left in the hotel.”
Jamie added: “There is a curfew from 4pm to 5am. We can go out to get food, but all the national parks and beaches are closed.
“Being stuck on an iconic set of islands and not being able to explore them is devastating.”
Prized for their diverse marine and plant life, the Galapagos Islands are famous for helping inspire Charles Darwin to develop the theory of evolution.