Galapagos 00:44.5S 90:18.27W

SV Jenny
Alan Franklin/Lynne Gane
Sat 4 Apr 2015 21:17
Dear Family and Friends,

4th April 2015

We have completed our last trip, to an island off the North coast of Santa Cruz, Isla Seymour Norte. This is a small island, entirely a nature reserve where the visitor numbers are controlled with the are time slots and boat size. We spent a very enjoyable hour or so with our guide walking in the strictly defined paths. Once again it is hard to choose just a few photos, seeing the sea lion pups, blue footed Boobies, frigate birds and land iguanas up close is very special. The national park regulate the numbers so as not to change the birds and animals behaviour by exposure to too many tourists who are asked to remain at least 2m away but are often nearer. The good thing about all the places we have been is that there is very little polluting plastics or rubbish of any kind anywhere. Why cant all places be this way?

Back in the town, there are recycling bins, the rubbish is collected daily, the streets are clean. The whole place is a mixture of the really nice shops, restaurants, hotels and homes and those more basic shops, overgrown plots of land and cared for homes in less affluent streets. The thing that strikes you as you step ashore is that over 90% of the vehicles are 4 door cab style pickup trunks and most of these are white. All the cabs are. Apart from these there are bikes and scooters. There’s a very relaxed attitude to scooter safety, helmets are worn but not done up, children ride on them with and without their own helmets, I have seen a toddler being bottled fed by Mum, on a moving bike whilst Dad drives, I have seen a family of 4 on one scooter. You cant help smiling and shaking your head.

We have checked out the local market which looks very reasonable but was not there on a Saturday, strange. I’ll go back last thing before we leave on Tuesday. Unfortunately we will not have a working freezer. Our agents contacts are in Ecuador hoping to find the part but wont be back for 2 weeks so that is not going to be any good. It’s a nuisance but we can survive and we hope our fishing efforts pay off. The local supermarkets are pricey, $10 for a packet of biscuits, $8 for a small packet of cereal, $5 for a jar of tomato paste, but I understand that French Polynesia is twice this price!!

Diesel fuel can only be purchased through an agent, we can not go ashore to the garage and get some ourselves and guess what Pump price $1.02 per Gl, price to us delivered to the boat, $4.50 per Gl. You cant help feeling you are being ripped off. We certainly felt that way about the tour yesterday. We got up again at 5am, came ashore for a 6am pick up only to be told the pick up would be 7.30am and it was actually 8am. Breakfast was supposed to be included and the day was supposed to finish at 5pm. Instead it finished at 3pm, we would have had no breakfast at all had we not made a fuss and had a great deal of waiting around because the captain changed his mind. When we complained to the tour agent with whom we had bought the tour he was not prepared to do anything. Seems you are just another tourist and poor customer service doesn’t matter. Shame much of this experience has been very good.

Breaking news, just when we thought we had seen most of the usual wild life, I was driving the dingy back to Jenny and as I reached the back of the boat, there were 2 large sharks right below us about 6-7’ long. I was very conscious that we were unloading heavy shopping and washing and boarding the back of the boat and didn’t want to be of any interest to them so we did a circuit. But amazing to see them so close!

Anyway here are the photos of Seymour Norte.

Blue footed Boobies, male to left, displays his feet to female, doing a kind of foot lifting dance.

2 Sea lion pups waiting for mum to return from fishing trip.

Male frigate bird displaying red breast to attract a female. They nest in the low branches on the foreshore.

Mother Frigate bird returns, one dinner coming up! Chicks are easy to spot with their white heads.

Endemic plant, before our visit rains had encouraged plants to leaf and flower so an arid island was really green.

Land iguana, about 60cm in length with yellow, red and orange brown markings to match the volcanic rocks amongst which it lives.

Seymour Norte landscape.

Well we will be back to the satellite comms from Monday/Tuesday when we leave here. So no pictures until we reach the Marquesas 3,000+ miles away in about 3 weeks and a few days time. 

All our best,

Lynne and Alan