Saturday 27th April 2013
I am writing this blog entry while on ‘depth watch’. The spot we moved to after the duelling davits night is a little shallower, and as we have a full moon and a spring tide right now, we have been going down to 0.2 metres of water under the keel at low tide. It shouldn’t go any shallower than that, in theory, but tidal heights are a bit of a dark art as far as I’m concerned, what with things like atmospheric pressure affecting it, so I don’t always believe the tide tables. Once it starts to rise again, though, I’m off to bed.
We’ve had a very pleasant week here in Isabela. We don’t have to go far to find the wildlife, it’s around us all the time. The boobies are forever giving me a heart attack by diving right beside the boat, making a loud ‘whump’ as they hit the water. The sea lions sound like old men coughing and spluttering as they swim by. We now recognise the call of the penguins and it is still a treat to go out on deck and watch them swimming around. Today as we stood by the landing dock we saw eagle rays and a white-tipped shark.
The penguins are well camouflaged amongst the dark rocks. Such a handsome chap, sunning himself on the dock.
It’s also been a busy week. Steve celebrated a landmark birthday, and swears he doesn’t look that old (maybe that’s why he grew the beard – to hide the wrinkles!)
Steve looking not a day older than 60. The crowded anchorage at Puerto Villamil.
Fortunately we have a reasonable wifi signal on the boat here, so we were able to send a few emails in search of a new outboard propeller. On Santa Cruz, Bodega Blanca were happy to quote a price for a new Yamaha outboard engine but were not in the least bit interested in helping to source a Mercury part. Electronautica, the Mercury agents, didn’t have our prop in stock and said it would take them 25 days to get one from Miami. Errr, why? Why Miami and why 25 days?! Can’t you get one from Ecuador, we asked? No, we only deal with our US suppliers, they said.
So we Googled ‘Mercury agents in Ecuador’ and emailed (using Google Translate) the two companies it came up with. Conautica, in Guayaquil, answered immediately saying they had one in stock, at a very good price, and that it would cost US$6 (no typo, that’s just six dollars) to send it by plane to Santa Cruz the next day (there’s no airport on Isabela). No Customs involvement because Galapagos is part of Ecuador. The only fly in the ointment was paying for it. If we had still been in Santa Cruz it would have been as easy as walking into Banco Pacifico and paying over the counter. Instead we had to do an internet international bank transfer. Would this hold up the shipment? No, they said, just email us a copy of the confirmation of payment. We cannot praise this company, Conautica, too highly, and especially Stefanny who not only emailed us and spoke to us on the phone in perfect English, but dealt with the whole thing with superb efficiency.
We still had the problem of collecting the prop from Baltra airport, but an email to Irene, our agent in Santa Cruz solved that one. She very kindly arranged for it to be collected from the airport and this morning put it on a ferry leaving Puerto Ayora at 0730. By late morning we had it on board. In the end it took five days from start to finish. Neither of us can understand why the locals don’t deal with companies in their own country, though we suppose there must be a reason. Tomorrow Steve will fit the new propeller, and the rib will be up and running once more.
There’s more to this blog, but I’ve just checked the echosounder and it seems that the tide is once again rising, so I will bring it to an end for now and wend my weary way all the way to the aft cabin. Night all.