Santa Cruz 00 44.831S 090 18.560W

Mike and Liz Downing
Sat 3 Apr 2010 03:29
We have crossed the 90 degree longitude line, so technically, as we sort of left from Greenwich, we have sailed exactly a quarter of the way around the globe! The route has been far from a straight line so we have actually sailed considerably further.

Santa Cruz is about 40 miles in a north westerly direction from San Cristobal and we arrived here late yesterday afternoon. We had expected to motor the whole way, but were lucky that the wind came up after an hour so it was possible to sail except for the last 10 miles when the wind dropped and the sea was sloppy. So we motor sailed into Puerto Ayora. The anchorage is not brilliant here as it faces south east and the prevailing wind and swell come from the south east as well, so you need both bow and stern anchors to hold the bows into the swell. It also means everyone is anchored on a lee shore, which goes against the grain, and, as it's the centre for tourism in the Galapagos, the anchorage is full of tour boats. But so far the winds have stayed light and the swell hasn't been bad.

The town is bigger and busier than San Cristobal, with more shops and more people. Most of the tours start and end here and it has a few hotels, rather than only hostels that were on San Cristobal. There aren't many sea lions around and we had got quite used to seeing them everywhere. The sea lion that played around the boat almost took up residence with us, coming back several times every day and night for the last week, chasing the small fish from under the boat.

The Darwin Research Centre is a 15-20 minute walk from the quay so we hope to be paying a visit. We can also take day trips from here to visit other islands which we couldn't do back in San Cristobal. We have to take organised day trips to the other islands as private vessels are not allowed to anchor at them. The islands are also 30 to 40 miles away, so it's a lot quicker in a tour boat with 2 or 3 huge outboards on the back! The town has a number of Internet Cafes so there'll be more pictures coming soon!

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