Blog 18. Galapagos. Sunday, 21/02/16. 00.53.74S 89.36.75W

David Batten
Mon 22 Feb 2016 12:45
Wednesday, 17/02/16. Up early to see where we were in daylight and to get out a stern anchor out before the rest of the fleet started to arrive, which was almost immediately. We then waited for the mass of officials we knew had to inspect the boat before we were cleared in and could go ashore and lucky for us, they came to Alcedo first, a positive tidal wave of them, led by the WARC agent, Ricardo, who dished out a fistful of forms and acted as interpreter. So Anthony and the Ship's Boy filled in forms while the Skipper answered questions in the cockpit and the Skipper's wife opened up the engine compartment and demonstrated what we would use for a diesel spill, then showed the doctor the medical kit and assured her none of us had a temperature, red eyes or rashes. Meanwhile Jane was showing another one the fridge, the deep freeze, the dry stores and anything else she wanted to see as well as acting as interpreter, while the divers were examining the hull to make sure we were not importing any unwanted marine life. After about 40 minutes of frantic activity and questioning, we were pronounced fit to be allowed in and forms completed and National Park Permit paid, they disembarked to descend on the next boat. Phew. So then we hailed a water taxi and went ashore, avoiding the sea lions that lounge around and sleep everywhere on the sea front.

Since then, we have done a day tour with a very helpful and informative taxi driver, which included a visit to the tortoise breeding centre, a walk to a beach where you are guaranteed to see the Blue Footed Boobies, a walk around the fresh water lake in the crater of a long inactive volcano where Frigate birds dive and bathe in the water and a snorkel in a rather rough and murky bay. We have visited the information centre and learned about the history of the islands and walked around the town and sampled the local cuisine at several restaurants. We have done the tour to a fabulous beach at the Eastern of the island and snorkelled in the rough and on that day, somewhat murky waters around Kicker Rock, where we failed to see to Hammer Head Sharks, but did see turtles and huge, colourful fish. We have seen countless sea lions, the town is full of them, their smell is almost overpowering and the catamarans in the fleet are having the greatest difficulty keeping them off their boats. We have watched the boobies diving for fish, seen the red throats of the male frigate birds for the first time, identified some of the famous finches and photographed the marine iguanas as they pose on the rocks that they blend into so well with. If there is ever time to sort the technology, photographs will follow, but the blog gets written in the early hours as there are never enough hours in the day.

Tomorrow, the crew leave the Skipper and the boat. The Skipper is being joined by Tom and Derv from Into The Blue, who will help him look after the boat and sail her to Isabella tomorrow night in company with Into The Blue. After a short stay and some exploration of Isabella, they will sail on to Santa Cruz and organise some day trips there, while the crew are going to join the Aida Maria for a more extensive tour of the northern islands. Hopefully, we will all meet up in Santa Cruz in good time to prepare for the 3000 nm Pacific crossing, the next major navigational hurdle.

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