Landfall in the Galapagos Islands

Mark & Sue Owen
Thu 9 Apr 2015 15:27
00:53.68S 89:36.79W

All is well on board and we're delighted to report that we have safely arrived in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, San Cristobal having sailed 828 nautical miles.

This is known to be a light wind passage, but with patience and perseverance and many different sail configurations, we were able to make way under sail for all but the final afternoon, when we decided against another night at sea and opted to motorsail the final 40 miles. Then things really got 'interesting' as, having not run the engine since leaving the anchorage at Las Perlas, it stubbornly refused to burst in to life. The new definition of the Cruising Life may now be defined as 'Fixing boats en route to exotic locations'.

As it happened there were two issues skipper had to deal with. First of all, with the help of Nigel Calder's weighty tome, he ascertained that the fuel shut off solenoid valve was sticking. He was able to open the valve up and we were back in business. However a short while later our troublesome engine start battery started smoking, as a result of the alternator still trying to charge the failed cell. All very alarming. We shut down all the boat's systems and while Sue sailed Macushla down the west coast of San Cristobal navigating with the aid of her trusty iPad, skipper proceeded to isolate completely the offending battery, split the domestic bank in two and with a couple of jumper leads we were operational once again. Phew!

We arrived in the bay of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, also known as Wreck Bay, around 3.30 pm and dropped the hook with great relief. We were pleased to see our frinds Pim and Hanneke on sv Nelly Rose anchored nearby, having enjoyed a daily email exchange with them on passage. Great to be sharing experiences on the way.

Our agent Bolivar came aboard to welcome us to the islands and joined us for a beer, advising that he would return in the morning with a team of inspectors. Skipper then donned mask and fins to give the hull a final check and found himself swimming with sealions - now that's a first!