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Date: 23 Feb 2015 11:13:17
Title: Update from Galapagos

Apologies for not sending blogs recently, but I dont use the Iridium satellite phone when in port, and the wifi in the first Island has been pretty poor.
The Galapagos seemed like a place full of beauracy and petty officialdom, based on reading pilot books, world ARC books and briefings, however since arriving and our encounter with officials, who were very friendly and welcoming, so far it has been the opposite, local restaurants are very reasonable, cheaper than the UK, and local markets we found have great local fruit and veg. I can beleive though that if one is not careful enough with boat preparation etc its possible to be in a whole lot of trouble, thanks to Paul for pushing us to have very clean hulls and be able to have the correct responses to any environmental questions.
The tours we have done have been excellent. The first one was titled kicker rock, and it was included in our WARC entry fee, initially from the itinerary it looked \ok but nothing special, actually it was brilliant, Stella overcame her fear of snorkelling and tried it, after initial nerves she loved it and now wants some of her own gear, we saw some Galapagos sharks, a huge number of local smaller fish, turtles, and hammer head sharks, brilliant. Our boat captiain showed us some firgate birds in full mating plumage, with their big red chests blown up, quite stunning to see.
The second tour went up into the hils, a climb to the highest point, about 1600m with some great views, often cloaked in cloud but  clear today, a trip to a giant tortoise breeding site, they are nearly all wiped out and the government is ensuring they survive.A great scheme and showed some very small ones in their small pens, and mature ones out in their enclosure, which covered several acres. Then down to the beach for a swim, the water was a lovely temperature, approx 23 deg C, just about right. Next stop was an old sugar plantation, which used  to employ convicts from Ecuador, but unfortunately in 1903 they killed the owner, nd that w2as that. WE saw the ruins of his house, and also a went into a tree house built inot the highest Ceido tree on the island, quote something.
We wondered what the climate might be in Galapagos, since its on the equator, but gets cooled by the Humbolt current, well it gets pretty hot in the sun,but evenings and overnight it cools down a lot and gets very damp, lots of dew. So its very bearable, and we found a lot cooler in the hills. Not sure if we can do cold and wet in the UK again.
John

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