Fiddi Angermeyer, founder of Angermeyer Cruises, is a Galapagos original. Born and raised there, he acquired his boat-building skills firsthand from his father Fritz, who sailed with his three brothers from Germany in the 1930s. He is a pioneer of the Islands’ charter industry.

He’s one of the Galapagos tourism originals, so I felt fortunate to sit down with him this month at his Angermeyer Point Restaurant in Puerto Ayora to learn more about him and the operation.

Galapagos Mary Anne

How does your own history tie in with that of the Galapagos Islands tourism one?
My parents arrived here separately in the 1930s. Like most families on Santa Cruz Island they were into farming because they needed to be and later my father got into fishing and boat building. In the 1950s my uncle, Karl Angermeyer, started taking explorers and scientists out on trips. My parents joined in and started doing the same. It turned out that taking people out to explore the islands earned you more money than fishing and it was a whole lot easier. So the boats were adapted for people instead of fish. I went to the U.S. for school and then returned back here just as a real tourism industry was starting, first with scientists, then curious travelers.

How did you get your start after returning?
I have been at this in some form since the mid-1960s. I went to work on a boat affiliated with the Darwin Center for a while and learned a lot, then I started working on a boat my father had, the Dixie. It held four passengers and a crew of two. I learned by doing everything: fixing what went wrong, driving the boat, being a guide.

I used that as a stepping stone to get a more comfortable boat and then kept repeating the process. I’ve lost count of how many boats I’ve been through now. Sometimes I look around the harbor and I’ve worked on half the boats anchored here.

Did you find yourself adapting to changing tastes over the years as the visitors became more mainstream?
I was one of the first owners to have a boat that had private baths for each cabin. That was a big deal. When we first started, everyone just slept on a deck together. I mainly just went by what I liked and wanted though. I was one of the first to install air conditioning because I wanted it in my cabin. I was looking for more comfort myself!

Read the whole Angermeyer interview at LuxuryLatinAmerica.com