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Date: 15 Mar 2011 22:16:00
Title: Week one in the big G 0:53.6S 089:37.2W

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Galapagos - Week 1
Seeing land fall after 8 days at sea was good but we had not tired of our routine, our trip had been so harmonious is leaves us less concerned about the  4-6 weeks passage that lies ahead of us.
Arrival in San Cristobal, Galapagos at dawn    It means a lot to us to be here
 
Our time of arrival in San Cristobel was perfect , dawn.  Zinnia was up, as ever.  The town was so sleepy and it wasn't the only soporific thing, as we sailed into the harbour we saw many a boat armed with fenders at there stern and those without where crowded with lazing lions, of the sea variety (Lobos Marinos). The sight of these languishing beast was all too exciting, With great gasp of 'look mummy' and 'haaaaaa', and there faces were of shear astonishment. I suspect their was a quick addition to the fantasy 'pets to get' list .  It also quickly extablished the childrens expectation of 'joys to be had' whilst in the Big G.

It looked as though a few boats had been given over to these very sweet loloping giants.  And we couldn't wait to give a little stern space over to our own indiginous guest.  We didn't have to wait for long, that
evening our stern was flanked with one to the left and one to the right by morning we had three on the left and one on the right. During the course of the day they came and they went, but  we all managed to find time to converse with them.  Having watched Madagasgar to many times our conversation seemed to be limited to' you is blubbery' or 'you is plumtious'.
  Would the Bosham Parish council tollerate this abuse of public space?
   
Some of the birdlife   
 
First day coincided with Cosmo's birthday (only 6 days late but he will never know). His birthday treat ,due to not having friends around, was to go in search for Hammerhead sharks.  Not many folk get to swim with sharks on there sixth birthday.  we've obviously been living in a different world for sometime now  and think it's safe, normal and acceptable to take your six year old swimming with sharks as a birthday treat....  But to our total delighted,  there is no guarenteed, we did get to see 2 hammers and a load of white tips and galapagos Brucies. all very exciting.
 Birthday lego and water pistol

  2 Hammerheads in this picture, I promise!
 Snorkelling in the big blue and then  Cake on board
 Sting Rays   playing with juvenile sea lions colour shoals of Galapagos grunts 
Kicker Rock   
 THe divers sign for hammerheads
For so many sailor Galapagos is a big problem, do you or don't you lavish money here.  It's  hugely controled/protected so almost no freedom to travel is allowed, 97% is given over to national parks.  We eventually opted for the expensive pass which permits us to visit 3 islands,  but even then it turned into a bit of a polarvar, and pre arrival we wondered if it was worth it.  I can only say those folk  who didn't opt for the 3 islands visits seemed to  regreted it.  and we are loving every minute

Had an amazing walk today, having left the village we then watched, fornication lizards, Frigates hunting prey, basking Sea lions (galore), swimming marine Iguanas, turtles, Vast statues of Charles Darwin amidst all the Galapogas animals ( Z's pre-teen crush), then on to diving pelicans and a whole squadron of blue footed boobie bird.  Colin and Cosmo were so mesmerized by the Surfers they didn't even notice the geezer with the blue feet hanging out behind them.  Later Colin went swimming with 2 sets of boobies whilst being dived bombed by the rest of the squadran and a couple of peli's in the fish rich bay. Not often surfers have to dodge sea lions and turtles, it's hilarious.
  
 
   Charles Darwin
Old WW2 gun implacemnet when Glapagos was the gateway to the Panama canal for the Americans  

The reality of having Sea lions on your boat quickly dawns and the thrill  wanes due to the smell, increase of flies and mega amounts of filth they leave behind, which seem impervious to any cleaning chemicals even the wondrous bleach. cute sea lion quickly become stinking vagrants in the eyes of mum and dad the cleaners. Colin was last seen chasing them off with a mop in hand.  Plus they're noisey buggers and wake us frequently with arguements over space allowance being conducted on our steps.  Both Sterns now heavily endoured with fenders, and the end of any sweet talking

A large part of each island you're not allowed to visit, and the areas you are allowed, you have to be accompanied by a ranger.  One could think your being totally stitched up, but we are of the opinion these islands are pretty damn special in terms of fauna, flora and indiginous endangered animals.

So given this our next tour is......
Visiting giant Tortoises and by god they're giant.  played in the surf on a deserted white coral beach, and walked the rim of a small volcano, and back in time for a $3 lunch.
   
Climbed an extinct volcano to see frigate birds    
 Not sure why this one has made it in
  in 'the washing machine' on the beach  
Later that afternoon we leave of an overnight passage to what is reputed to be the very best islands. Isabella.  It's 80 nautical miles away. what would have been a bit of a stress and taken alot of consideration/planning 12months ago is now d-rigure.
 
We pass a volcano with a third submerged in the sea but the other three quarters with high standing wall,  we had seen on the recently purchased BBC Galapagos film, (this is the volcano we later sail through).  We roll into Isla Isabella with the breaking surf all around us, quite hairy.  but if you choose to travel by sea when the moon is closest to the earth in 20yrs what can you expect.... only us nautical folk had no idea. But without a doubt it's the best welcome party we have ever had.  Two very youthful hammer head sharks scooting around the boat, followed by large marine iguanas swimming around anchorage, and only two other boats.
 

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