position S00 53.845 W89 36.778

Ocean Rival Journey Log
Adam Power Diana Power
Fri 4 Aug 2017 13:42
Fri 4th August

The inspection inquisition team arrived on time yesterday - our agent Carmella with the Port Captain dressed in a pristine white suit, a customs official, a park warden and a diver.
The Port Captain was very serious and took out a white hanky to sit on rather than contaminate his tousers on our almost new cockpit cusions. After paperwork he demanded to see our 1st aid kit and proceeded to point out every tube of lotion that was even slightly out of date with great distain. He looked almost shocked when shown the fire extinguisher which is admitidly probably as old as the boat and may qualify as antique. That was too much for him and he took his hanky and departed with instructions to get new one or face immediate combustion (I don't think he said that but his meaning was clear). The customs official was quite pleasant but took away all our oranges which I was hoping would last most of the way to Tahiti. He also took a mango but left all the other fruit and veg. He gave us a long list of red produce (banned) yellow (controlled) and green (O.K). The park warden gave us chapter and verse on how to behave and the diver fortunately didn't condem us to an 80 mile round trip to nowhere. We then had to wait 3 hours for the fumigation man who for a $100 consideration let off a gas bomb inside and killed anything left alive. Our pet lizard that joined back in Surinam and occasionaly appears is presumably no more.

We left the boat to the gas man and took the water taxi ashore for an explore of the town. A walk out to the modern interpretative centre gave us the Galapagos story -the plunderes who decimated the tortoises, all the failed attepts at making a new life in paradise and the hard men who tried to colonise the islands with convicts. Fresh water is the main problem for dwellers. This island has some with a lake near the summit but the others have very little and now rely mostly on desalination plants or imported water. Energy is imported diesel but they are talking about installing more wind and solar. There is a small university in a nice new building and the public spaces are clean and tidy, but the wall of comments in the interpretive centre from locals suggested inadequate investment in infrastructure and services. That may be changing since the centre was built. After lunch of rather unusual tortillas we walked on beyond the centre on a sawn tufa paved path up to frigate bird hill where a wooden platform gives views over the town and wreck bay and the coast to the north. The shrubs and trees that manage to grow between the volcanic boulder strewn landscape create a lovely colourful open woodland with red flowers turning bright yellow, pale greys of lichen covered trees and vivid greens of occasional larger trees. You trip over lizards on the path and flycatchers and finches flit around. The apropriately named hill is the favourite hang out for Frigate birds and they perch precariously on tree branches over the cliff just a few yards from the path. They look at you hautifuly but show no sign of worry.
Walking back along the coast we stopped for a swim at a beach populated only by sea lions who appear to spend the great majority of their time resting or arguing with one another. Occasionaly one flounces into the water for a fishy snack and you can imagine the fishing here is pretty easy for such a well designed swimming/munching machine. Snorkling proved that the fish are abundant and like the land based wildlife completely unbothered by human approach. I was surpised to see a little head aproaching me on the surface and looking under the surface realised it was a marine iguana which then proceeed to graze on a rock next to me. It is little wonder that the islands are so in demand when the wildlife is so obliging.

Back in town after a cup of tea on the front we were exploring the shops when a cry from within caught our attention. Carmella in her office spotted us and was keen to extract some more cash for the next days tour. Her brother Gian Carlo was also there and he took us to a saftey shop which had some small fire extinguishers. After some debate about CO2 verses powder we went for powder as that was what they had. Hopefully the next port captain will be suitably impressed.