00:44.91S 090.18.46W Puerto Ayora, Academy Bay anchorage.
We arrived here on Sunday and anchored in the bay along with almost everyone
else in the world doing a circumnavigation this year. There could be sixty
yachts around us all preparing for the run to the Marquesas.
On Monday we went to the island of North Seymour. All the birds and animals,
even fish, here are ridiculously unbothered by us eco-tourists and loaf
around so people can have a good gawp. In fact, they are sometimes difficult
not to tread on. We quickly had our fill of land iguanas, frigate birds and
blue-footed boobies and other exotic birds nesting onshore and Galapagos
sealions, marine iguanas and crabs playing on the beach.
The colours here are one of the more striking things. Santa Cruz island,
where we are anchored, is very green and looks superficially like Surrey but
on islands to the north vegetation is sparse and the rock is black basalt
with dashes of white where the birds sit. The sealions and marine iguanas
are also bible-black but then there are flashes of crimson from the male
frigates and the bright orange of the crabs all over the rocks and not
forgetting the boobies blue feet. The beaches are white or yellow and under
the turquoise sea the fish are every other available colour.
Today, Tuesday saw us on the island of Bartolome. The volcanic rocks are
very recent here and tower up into some fantastical black Gothic-style
formations. After a hot slog up to the top of a volcano we took to the water
with masks and snorkels. Lots of Galapagos penguins, manta rays, white-tip
sharks, turtles and the usual collection of fish on show. There are no coral
reefs here but the flying-buttresses of lava extend underwater and make a
We are going somewhere else tomorrow and there had better be some giant
tortoise around or there will be trouble.