Santa Cruz > Isla Isabela, Galápagos 20-07-2011 (0:57.9S 90:57.7W)

Vries Peter Pons
Wed 20 Jul 2011 21:00
At 09.00h we lift anchor to set sail for Isla Isabela, supposedly the most
impressive of the three islands we're allowed to visit with our own boat and
in any case the biggest, covering 58% of the total landmass of the
Galápagos. It takes us 1.5h to take off, as we first have to hoist the stern
anchor you need to set in Academy Bay to prevent you from swinging into
other boats. An added advantage of setting the stern anchor was that it kept
the bow right in the substantial swell, which prevented us from rolling from
one side to the other, which is terrible if you try to get some sleep.

Anyway, at 10.30h, with a nice beam reach port tack of some 44nm ahead of
us, we've hoisted the sails and do between 8 and 9 knots towards our new
destination. Santa Cruz is completely overcast, at times it drizzles and it
is cold, not more than some 20 degrees, a typical Dutch day in early autumn.
Out at sea we get a bit of sun now and then, but when we're closing in on
Isabela it starts to drizzle again, typical for this season in the

Since one: we have no pilotbook covering the entrance of Puerto Villamil,
the port of Isabela, two: the electronic charts are not very reliable for
this area, three: this is the trickiest entrance of the three bays, and
four: the overcast skies severely limit the visibility, we decide to call
the port captain and ask for some guidance on the way in. They tell us to
aim for a big tanker in the bay, and soon thereafter Henry, watertaxi- and
bar-owner, fisherman, diver and fuel salesman with his son Froy motors over
to guide us to the anchorage, where we drop the hook very well protected
behind a reef. We're the only sailboat there, besides some fishing boats and
two tourist boats. We've averaged some 8 knots to get here, which would be a
great average for our next 3000nm crossing to the Marquesas.