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Date: 26 Feb 2014 23:29:09
Title: Isla Isabela & excursions

> After sailing 80 nm at night from San Cristóbal, we arrived in Isla Isabela one early morning.
> We docked in the bay outside Puerto Villamil, an idyllic village with small, colonial style buildings. 2500 people live on the Island, almost everybody in Puerto Villamil, a very laid back village, where everything happens in it's own pace. When your're in a restaurant, you order food & beverage, wait up to 30 min before the waiter returns and tells you that "no hay" (don't have) whatever you ordered. So you"re back to square one again.. But you get used to it. You just drink another beer whilst waiting. The food is good though, and usually worth waiting for.
> Isla Isabela is the largest island in the Galapagos archipelago, with 6 volcanos, the last one active in 2007. We went up to the biggest volcano, Sierra Negra, one day. After a bus ride, we walked 6 km to the brim. What an amazing sight! The volcano is 10 km wide, and was last active in 2005. It's the second largest active volcano in the world.
> We also went to see the famous "Wall of Tears", Muro de Lágrímos, built by prisoners just to keep up the discipline in the hot & dry inland. Luckily this meaningless prison was shut down in 1959, after massive protests by the people living on the Island.
> We visited Centro de Crianza, where they take care of land turtoises, and have an aim to bring them back to their natural environment when they are ready.
> We also went strolling on some beautiful, almost deserted beaches, where the iguanas doze & pelicans & frigate seabirds compete over plentiful fish in the ocean.
> The most amazing thing is that no one seem to take notice of our presence. They"re not afraid at all, like they don't have any known enemies.
> Whilst walking to a nearby beach the other day, the trail was blocked by 3 sea lions, a common sight over here. Life sure is very different from back home!
> Ellen & Haakon went diving one day, and got to see even more sharks, rays & sea turtles, along with some blue footed boobies (we're talking birds with blue feet here - no hallucinations!!)
> Isla Isabela was really worth a visit, and after a day of sailing (42 nm of good sailing), we are now in Santa Cruz, the third & last stop before heading for the French Polynesia.
> Santa Cruz's main city, Puerto Ayora, is a busy, vivid place with lots of bars, cafés restaurants & souvenir shops - totally different from lazy Puerta Villamil. But it is actually nice to be back in civilization :)
> At 'The Rock', our meeting place for the ARC fleet, happy hour is busy every afternoon. One can get used to it.. Luckily the sea lions keep a distance here, and we don't have to block the entrances to the boats, in order to keep them away. Only the pelicans come and visit our boat once in a while.
> We're back to provisioning again, preparing the boat for the longest leg, Galapagos - French Polynesia, 3.100 nm, that will give us up to 3 weeks of non-stop sailing. I think we all agree - there will be no happy hour every afternoon on that long leg :)

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