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Date: 16 Mar 2014 00:12:00
Title: Galapagos

00:53.84S 89:37.78W

After 10 days at sea we arrived in Wreck Bay, San Cristobal. It's been our second longest passage so far: the Atlantic took 13 days.

We are tired: one never sleeps much the night you draw close to land, but not exhausted as we've managed the passage well. We've learnt to get straight to sleep on our off watch - we do three hours on, three hours off, and to sleep in the day if we need to catch up. All the same it was a busy 24 hrs: we sailed along the North coast of San Cristobal in the dark, hearing the surf break on the slopes of the volcano we were passing and hearing the seals and sea lions accompanying us. We timed our entry to Wreck Bay for soon after light; so at first light we were busy stowing unused sails below, emptying the fo'c'sl of the fenders, and getting the anchor ready. We then just had the four sails to drop before we motored for the final approach.

Once anchored we paused for a celebratory beer (it's a tradition, who cares if it's before coffee or breakfast? And anyway, they were Polars, teeny little half size cans of beer from Curacao, Chris on Tulu calls them 'shot beers') sitting watching the seals climbing on the catamaran's transoms and play chase around us, before going below to make things ship shape as our Agent was due. He checked our paperwork and left again - via water taxi, of which there are quite a few, as no one uses dinghies because the seals take them over as sun bathing platforms and they're very hard to get off when you want to use your dinghy. They also have pretty smelly poo, which is also hard to get off.

We'd just about finished getting ready for the Environment Agency inspection, and not yet got all the sails covered, when they arrived. The inspection went fine - she had us cut off the leaves from our solitary pineapple - all that was left of our fruit, and sealed them in a plastic bag to be hermetically destroyed. She searched the place for animals, checking the rice for weevils, she listened for crickets but didn't hear a cheep. There was a nasty moment when she wanted to remove our herb garden, the fruit of many months of careful tending, still going from new stock in Trinidad, but she took pity on my stricken face and marked them down as 'medicinal plants' and we had to promise to keep them in the heads away from any windows.

Once they left we finished putting the sails away, put up the awnings and, of course, couldn't resist going ashore for a quick explore. It is quite charming - all set up for the only industry the Islands have - tourism, of course, but done nicely and with a Colombian feel about it (Galapagos belongs to Ecuador).

I forgot to let you know the passage food last time, so here's the last few days:

Day 8: bacon, onion and tomato in french bread; french bread and Mulligatawny soup - thank you Ainsley Harriot!; fish stew, with potatoes, courgette, augergine, tomatoes.

Day 9:toasted raisin bread; I've forgotten what was for lunch; polenta parcels with salmon, served with corn on the cob, and fried aubergine, cherry tomatoes and local Panama cheese, which does a good job of imitating haloumi. We came across these packets first in Colombia as street food, they come wrapped in banana leaves and tied up with string.

Day 10: pineapple, granola, yoghurt; left over tuna pasta with a salad of cucumber and red pepper, topped with grated carrot and christophene - which tastes a little like radish raw; Sweet garlic chicken, slow cooked by the sun, with Tangier cous cous, complete with cucumber, tomato, shadon beni, black olives and spring onions.

I was really pleased; we'd managed our fruit and veg well, after two and a half weeks we were still having fresh every day. We have potatoes, onions, cucumber, christophene and red cabbage left. We still had oranges, limes and our pineapple. I'd not been eating the oranges because they last better than the other fruit and although we eat 2 or 3 limes a day, we had topped up in Las Perlas. However, when the Agent came he explained that the Environment inspection people would take away all citrus fruit. We spent the two hours before they came juicing by hand, on one small lemon juicer, about 90 oranges and 40 limes. We've not quite managed to get rid of the sticky feel in the galley and Phil is still complaining of repetitive stress injury...

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