position S00 44.912 W90 18.608

Ocean Rival Journey Log
Adam Power Diana Power
Sat 12 Aug 2017 06:37
Fri11th August

I am a bit behind with the blog due to satellite connection issues- there always seems to be something not quite working correctly on board. However one or two steps forward today as the glued pump is holding for the time being and the latest eletrician has got an alternator to produce measurable electricity. This is my backup alternator which has different wiring and some improvised fixings, hence my failure to fit it myself. The electrician has taken the old alternator ashore for repair. The alternator bills mount to unthinkable proportions but there is always someone with greater problems- the french yacht next door was dismasted on route from Panama and his friends were lightning struck which is a complete nightmare for boat electrics. The dismasting appears to have occured in relatively ordinary conditions so probably a fast light sleek french yacht designed for speed rather than our good old solid english plodder. Actually don't let her hear such insulting language, she doesn't plod and attracts plenty of admiring comments on her elegant lines. The french yachts were sailing in convoy and their friends had weeks of worry waiting for the dismanted vessel to finally catch up with a shortened rig.

Yesterday we took a bus ride along the only but very swish road running north to the village of Santa Rosa and walked to the El Chatto Ranch which runs a tortoise reserve for tourists. For $5 you can wander the ranch and admire the tortoises in their natural(ish) habitat. The ranch also grows coffee and clementines which one can pick off the ground for a lovely sweet snack. A muddy wallow filled with a score of half submerged flatulent tortoises bubling gently in a magnificent tortoise stew was the highlight. We hitched a lift back to the village to save the long climb back and not knowing when a bus might appear we took a taxi up to the north point of the island where ferrys bring travellers across a narrow straight from the airport on the little island of Baltra. I had in mind that we might hail a boat to take us a short hop round the coast to a bay that is mentioned in the guide book, however no boats run from here other than the airport ferry- a missed opportunity it seems to me, and enquiries revealed that there is no path to walk the short distance. So we ate our lunch rolls and took a taxi back to Puerto Ayora stopping on route to visit Los Gemenos. These are a pair of deep massive craters formed when a thin lava crust collapsed into the voids below. Here we were surprised to be met on the trail by a short eared owl taking a bath in a puddle in the middle of the narrow path. It was unperturbed by passing walkers who had to skirt the puddle to avoid disturbing its ablutions.

After the visit from the electrician today and having discovered public transport we dropped down a notch in the class of bus and climbed onto a lorry with open sides and bench seats to reach the village of Bellavista. From the village a good long hike takes you to the summit of the island (Cerro Croker) at 864m asl. Refreshingly we escaped the tourist throng and the signage for the trail was very sparse and occasionally lying unkempt in the grass. A one point we almost ignored a broken sign which said ST. Only a search in the undergrowth revealed the OP. The rough guide warns you to take a (human) guide as it is easy to get lost but we had similar warnings about the El Chatto reserve where it was totally impossible to get lost and assumed that the warnings were at the behest of the national park to encourage employment. So when we took a wrong turn and ended up on Puntuno rather than Cerro Roker I suppose we have only ourselves to blame. However Puntuno is no second rate peak and ends in a decidedly tricky climb to the summit. Diana took the ascent at cracking pace and keeping my reservations about the descent to myself we celebrated with cake on the summit sheltering from the strong chilly wind and horizontal rain. No views unfortunately as the cloud never lifts but a definate sense of achievement. The descent from the peak was slow but negotiated without mishap and declining the now obvious path to Cerro Croker due to risk of failing light we squelched our way back down the watery path to the village. The only wildlife sightings were a green warbler finch and a couple of smoothed billed ani but the vegetation was fascinating and we did get great views of the coast about 1/2 way down once below the cloud. The lorry bus was conviently awaiting our return so back to town for a well earned cocktail and then supper aboard.