Puerto Ayora, Isla Santa Cruz, Galapagos

David & Valerie Allen
Fri 12 Mar 2010 23:38
00:44.83 S   90:18.49 W

Wednesday, March 10, 2010.

Today we reached the mythical islands of the Galapagos!  We had not seen another sailboat since we left Panama one week ago and then, suddenly we were within sight of FAI TIRA, the boat we set out with!  It was a fitting finale for a wonderful trip.

However, there was more to come!  Just after speaking with FAI TIRA, we spotted two whales spy-hopping in the distance.  Then we were escorted by a handful of dolphins.  Birds flew everywhere around us.  As we approached the anchorage a sea lion swam alongside and was followed later by a small shark!  The welcoming committee was out in full force!

It was wonderful to meet up with our rally friends and to share tales of our trip.  Ours, fortunately was an idyllic and uneventful passage.  Others were not so lucky.  One of the boats we started out with, BIONIC, burned out its impeller within fifteen minutes of setting sail and had to return to Rio Cacique to fix it the next morning.  CAMOMILE was almost dismasted when a clevis pin holding one of the support stays exploded apart.  They had to jerry rig the mast and motor carefully through fairly rough seas the rest of the way to the Galapagos.  ENCHANTRESS and LUCY ALICE kept them company throughout this last leg.  Aboard ROUDABOUT there was a small fire in the wiring around their bilge pump.  This was quickly brought under control with a fire extinguisher.  LORRIGRAY experienced major steering problems and had to return to Panama. 

 We developed a squeak in the cables around the autopilot.  I was asleep when I first heard it and thought it was a woman faintly calling "Help!"  I rushed up on deck telling Dave there was a woman drowning beside the boat!  He lubricated it but a bit of the noise returned just before we arrived.  Our bige pump mysteriously sounds the alarm a few times a day, but we can't find any water (I cleaned the bilges before we left) and it doesn't stay on long.  We will keep looking for the source.

On Thursday (HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JAIME!!!!!) we walked into town and visited the Charles Darwin Research Centre.  It was amazing to walk among the giant tortoises.  It was equally amazing to see our friends again and to share happy hour and dinner with them!

Here are some photos of some of our friends on Isla Santa Cruz!

A Pelican perched by the fish market
Jaime and Carmen from Bionic and Glenda and Ian from Lucy Alice

The entrance to the Darwin Centre

A female tortoise climbing the stairs in the woods

There are so many kinds of lizards everywhere!

This is a BABY bird waiting for its mother to feed it!