Our First Day in Cristobal
As soon as the anchor was set, we should have got down to our cleaning and tidying chores; a journey at sea produces salt globs just about everywhere, but we found ourselves captivated with Rendezvous - our next door neighbours squatters. It’s a well known fact that sea lions will sleep anywhere they can find a bed and we wondered when we would get our first visitor (assuming comfortable conditions for one).
The chap in the middle wanted to get up, he had to disturb the lad on the bottom bunk, much growling.
The bad tempered soon was heard softly snoring once more. A streamlined entry.
We were just watching our first visitors get busy with Beez new growth of soft barnacles, incredible that on the journey here we had amassed quite an outcrop, proving the amazing richness of marine life in these parts. Bear was thrilled with the au natural lawnmowers, but I was none to thrilled hearing their sharp little teeth scraping at the hull, must have words with them.
No sooner than our puffer fish were licking their breakfasting lips than Karmela arrived with Pablo, her assistant. The sister of Johnny Romero (our agent - he deals and lives on Santa Cruz) - Karmela looks after the San Cristobal arrivals. We could see the yellow Q flags still flying on the other boats in the fleet we had happily been part of (until we dropped out for the day of fun with the red foots).
First in had been Saliander late Monday, the rest yesterday. (They all had Bolivar as their agent. In years gone by yachties had been dissuaded from using Johnny for the same reasons as Bolivars customers now face, not always being here on this island). We had been quite happy with the idea and common occurrence, that we had about two days to get straight before we saw our agent.
Karmela took the necessary paperwork to get our Customs and Immigration ball rolling, radioed for the water taxi, insisted on a photograph with me and said she would return in an hour with the full boarding party. Hop to, breakfast, clean bathroom, quick tidy and get Beez a little more shipshape and Bristol fashion. Island time of course meant the hour was slightly longer, no worries. We had a welcoming radio call from Steve on Scott-Free and pop-by visits from Ron on Always Saturday, Pete on Saliander and Jenny on Full Monty, our caring radio operative.
I had said at the time, had we been crossing the Atlantic with our red footed friends, they could have stayed full board, dining on the constant supply of flying fish landing all over the deck. Any longer, I would have been none too happy with the vast richness and quantity of their oft white liquid calling cards. Well be that as it may the skipper found a very different stowaway here in the Pacific – a very smelly baby squid.
The supply ship we had seen being unloaded as we came into the anchorage, was still in full swing. Every ten minutes or so one of the three barges (powered by a forty horse outboard) chugged by. The one above was carrying bottled water. During the day we saw building materials, pipes, fencing, wheel barrows, tinned food and thankfully for the captain – many beers. The cheerful, hard working crews always gave a wave and a tired smile, what a job.......
Rod popped by and we listened in awe to the story of how the two skippers on Sheer Tenacity and Scott-Free chose a spot on the map to cross the equator. Bearing in mind they set the challenge eight hours prior to the lat/long rendezvous we were amazed they arrived within a minute of each other, took pictures, Chris handing over King Neptune cake - cannot wait to read that blog. It may take us all time to catch up on blogs, we have three Government provided wi-fi signals showing five bars but sadly no link. Like in so many anchorages previously, we will have computer in backsack on the morrow seeking out a café, restaurant or friendly hotel reception with the usual chat up line resulting in a code. Fingers crossed.
Soon enough Karmela returned with the Port Officer/Customs man, the National Park Inspector and his assistant, a beautiful young lady who stayed in the cockpit with the others. Her boss clearly has a reputation for being a grouchy and pernickety man (and so he should be. He is the front line protector and inspector of all things brought in by boat or plane that could harm this unique wildlife wonder of the world). Seeing me, the assistant thought her man had probably met his match. He asked me for a lamp (torch) and off we went. I had to open all the cupboards for his shining beam. I asked what he was looking for, “animals and pets”. Oh well, where did I hide my goat. I assured him that every nook and cranny was well fought over between me and my captain and nary was there room for even the smallest cockroach, ant even in this vessel of ours. He remarked how clean Beez was and asked about fruit and veg. This was where we came to a little incident. I leaned out into the cockpit and retrieved Bears pineapple, silly me had forgotten to fillet it, one of the jobs I should have done at sea, but here we have it, now in this strict mans hands. Scruffing each and every leaf he happened to remark that the little white spots over its body were indeed insect eggs. My offended Richter Scale knew no bounds as he started to scrag the top off and permit juice to drop on the floor. I pulled my sarong covered body to its full height – a good ten inches above my quarry and refused to accept the point. I reached out for my baby powder and explained that “every time I al fresco shower I give the chafe crannies a good covering but the the cockpit gets a snow storm in the process.” The assistant outside, but out of her bosses view was now helpless as I demonstrated by mime, the act of shoving a handful over my lower portions. Plus the fact no insect eggs of that microscopic size would ever still be eggs after nearly two weeks. Wisely he recanted, with a final flurry of power he insisted I fillet it there and then and retreated from this glowering leviathan into the safety of the cockpit, put his head to his paperwork not looking right or left. I did as requested, expecting round two, but he didn’t check up on me, my word being my bond on this occasion. Beez got her certificate.
Karmela and the gang left with the promise of our Passports returning at three. Bear took the yellow flag down and we did feel a tiny bit guilty at being the last arrival and the first to be checked in. We could now go ashore but.................................
.......our first chap arrived
Bear needed to get the Hydrovane rudder in to prevent barnacle growth, well get to it skipper. He did. Our chap barely opened one eye as the captain knelt right next to him.
Whilst there I asked Bear to take a close up. I asked our new friend – and I flatly refused to name him Sammy, this is Leonard, Len for short – if he would smile for the camera. He did indeed smile quite happily.
Back to the job in hand. I found it quite incredible that my husband was kneeling so close to a wild sea lion. WOW. My reverie was soon interrupted as the heavy Hydrovane rudder was handed up to me.
Our Passports did return with a very special stamp
Did we go into town to explore – No, plenty of time for that. We played backgammon and yes, I’m still on a losing streak, but I did win a few bob at Rummikub. Huh, don’t huh me. I lost at Upword too, marvelous, no, not good. Every half an hour or so I did hose down Len who thought the service here was good enough to stay all day. Occasionally he nipped off for a snack, but in these plentiful waters he neither had to go far or for too long. He makes his exit from the water to sleep pose in seconds now and looks right at home. We also have the best shape bunk, compared to the catamarans who have to spend a significant amount of time hosing off the smelly gifts left behind after the snoozing guests have left. Ours has an open potty, no mess, no smell. Mind you, we are not so sure about the snoring...... I may have to get used to hearing Len and Bear in stereo.......... Double Huh, you should hear yourself having a practice at the art at five some mornings. No comment.
Our final small event in the day happened as we were enjoying supper and a lovely sunset. A massive French goliath anchored very close beside us. All well until we turned, Beez nose was sniffing their dinner, extremely close. Their captain never dropped rhythm in forking his meal, just barked a few orders to the crew and next thing we heard the clunking sound of their anchor being lifted.
ALL IN ALL BUSY FUN AND WONDERMENT