Sat 20 Apr 2013 02:38
20.04.2013 - 27th April - THE PASSAGE

During the passage to Galapagos we had beautiful sunny weather for the first
few days but hardly any wind, which is not great for a sailing boat! We had
to use the engines for most of the way. The sea was so calm it looked like
velvet and we saw lots of marine life. A lot of rays jumping out of the
water which was an interesting sight. We managed to catch a small Tuna and
managed to catch a few more fish but they either wriggled free due to the
engine power shooting them off the line - or something bigger came and took
the fish from the line whilst we were reeling it in so not much success! We
came across a couple of huge fishing nets just set up in the middle of the
ocean hundreds of miles from land but no-one around??? We thought it was
likely that these huge nets probably caught unsuspecting turtles, dolphins,
sharks which isn't a nice thought. The lucky thing was that we came across
them during daylight otherwise not really sure what would have happened if
we happened to drive over one in the dark.

Half way through the passage we arrived at a huge rock called Mapelo where
we decided to drift whilst eating breakfast. There we saw a pod of the
biggest/fattest dolphins I have ever seen and lots and lots of sharks!
Charlie, who LOVES sharks, wanted a closer look..... so what does one do
when one sees a large school of sharks, well we all jumped in with our
snorkel gear, holding onto the boat, to have a look!

After we left Mapelo the wind started to increase and the sea became rougher
so we made good progress to Galapagos. We couldn't wait to get there!

27.04.2013 - WE ARRIVED
After a weeks passage we arrived at San Christobal in the gorgeous sunshine!
The first thing we noticed was how beautiful the scenery was - gorgeously
green with white sandy beaches! When we arrived in the harbour there were
sealions everywhere! When we say everywhere, we mean EVERYWHERE! A bit like
Torquay with the Seagull infestation! They were lounging on the backs of
peoples boats, on the beach sunbathing with humans and also in the tenders!
It was hilarious to see! We went ashore to have a look around and there were
sealions just walking up the high street and laying around on the
benches/bustops! We have never seen anything like it and never thought we
would ever be so close to them! They are really funny to watch and have
loads of character!

We decided to have a meal in a restaurant to celebrate that we had arrived.
We had literally just sat down at our table and Lynsey gets stung by a wasp!
Said wasp was not antagonized in anyway, therefore this was an unprovoked
attack! The reason for why Lynsey does not like bugs/beasties was now made
clear. They seek her out! She has probably been the one to endure the most
mosquito bites during the trip so far as well something must attract them???

Today we took a walk to one of the beaches on the island. There we saw some
salt spitting Marine Iguanas - they looked like dinosaurs and, again, we
could get quite close. Paul was really close to one of them. On the beach
the seals would come so close in the water and on the shore. There were lots
of mummy and babies swimming around - very cute! When we returned to the
dock to take the tender back to the boat, we found three baby seals asleep
on the seats and had to shoo them off!
The beach was beautiful and the sea so clear.

Seals sound like sheep so when we are nodding off at night it sounds like a
farmyard outside! They sleep on the steps at the back of the boat and we
have had to put up defences to stop them from coming up on deck and into the

Today we made a picnic and decided to go to the beach just around the coast
from the harbour. We went snorkelling and swam with some huuuuuge/giant
turtles! They were not bothered by humans in the slightest so it was great
to up so close to them! There was a coastal path from the beach so we
decided to see where it went. We ended up at a gorgeous cove where the water
was so clear and we could see a lot of seals swimming. Whilst Lynsey was
putting her snorkelling gear on there was a baby seal sat on the same step
which started to sniff and kiss her back - sooooooo cute and amazing that
they have absolutely so fear of humans!
Once we were in the water we were swimming with seals all around us, they
were really playful and there was a mum watching her babies closely but she
wasn't aggressive at all. There were also a couple of blue boobies hanging
around so it was a great day!

Today we woke up, went out on deck to get a drink and saw that the cushions
around the dining table were filthy!!! The only explanation was that a seal,
a dirty one, had got up on deck at night and made itself comfortable on our
lovely clean cushions! When Tony got up he explained that he had come up on
deck earlier that morning to also get a drink to the fright of an
aggressive, massive, male seal roaring at him! We wish we'd have been a fly
on a wall to see it happen! We were told about the fresh food market in town
today so we went and stocked up for the Pacific crossing.

In the afternoon we hired a taxi for the afternoon to take us around the
island. We stopped at a couple of viewpoints, a volcano, a gorgeous unspoilt
beach and the tortoise sanctuary where we saw some giant tortoises. They
really are quite large - even though we knew they were going to be big, they
were bigger than expected and amazing to look at!

We booked a dive/snorkelling trip today. The location of the dive was at Kicker Rock where shark sightings are common. We stopped in a bay and swam with more seals before heading out to the rock. When we arrived Paul, Charlie and Tony were the first ones to leave the boat as they were the only scuba divers on the trip. The rest of us were snorkelling. The water was FREEZING and we saw lots of sharks and a couple of giant turtles. Paul and Charlie were lucky enough to see a Hammerhead on their second dive.

As we are leaving on Saturday today was mainly filled with getting the boat ready for the long journey ahead of us. Charlie found a seal lounging on the saloon sofa during the day which we would have loved to have seen! Luckily it was a 'clean' baby one so didn't leave any mess!

We left San Christobal today :-(. Lynsey cried as she has fallen in love with the seals! She didn't even cry when she left England! We sailed to Santa Cruz, the main island in the Galapagos where the bigger cruise boats leave from with tourists to explore the islands. Santa Cruz has a very different feel to it than San Christobal. There were hardly any seals and a lot more people and very lively. We put the underwater lights on at the back of the boat which attracted dozens of small black tip reef sharks which were amazing to see and Charlie was a very happy bunny! As we didn't have a cruising permit we weren't really supposed to stop at any other islands unless we had arranged to go to them through a tour operator. But we left the following morning before 6am without any trouble :-)

Today we left the Galapagos. Before we passed Isabela (Galapagos' biggest and most unspoilt island) we passed Tortuga, a huge crescent shaped sunken volcano. We were not going to stop at Isabela due to the Cruising Permit issue but we decided to quickly pop in to see if we could see any of the penguins! We didn't see any penguins but we did see hundreds of blue boobies who had really blue feet and were diving for fish so we were happy we got to see that. The harbour at Isabela really is beautiful and we were sad we couldn't have spent any time there but we were so pleased to have stayed in San Christobal amongst all the Seals as there didn't seem to be high number of them here either. At around 5pm we left Isabela to start our passage towards the Marquesas 3000 miles away....

We hope everyone is well at home and looking forward to seeing you all soon! We will add some piccies to go with this blog as soon as we have proper internet access xxxx