Plodding Along; Galapagos Part III. 06:39:97S 102:12:11W

Zipadedoda of Dart
David H Kerr
Thu 13 Mar 2008 10:51

The weather Gods have been kind to us since the last entry, with little or no rain and bright sunny days with a gentle cooling breeze.  We have sailed most of the time with a few brief periods of motor sailing. The wind has been light Trades so we have been reaching at between 4 & 8 knots SOG (mostly in the lower range), including a favourable 1 to 1.5 knot South Equatorial current. There is a gentle ocean swell of around 1 metre. ETA  Nuku Hiva is looking likely to be around the end f the month, unless the winds pick up over the next few days,. Which incidentally they are forecast to do in the next 36 hours. We shall have to wait and see what Neptune has in store for us.


We have now travelled 840nm since leaving Galapagos, with 2250nm to go on the Rhumb line. We are both making the most of the relaxing environment we find ourselves in, and are devouring books and playing Suduko, in between meals, sleeping  and “playing” with the computer. Crew in particular has been making the most of the lack of “tippy uppy” and has been turning out some simply stunning meals. Whilst at the same time producing some additional, “easy serve”, meals for the freezer. These are to be saved for the less benign weather that we are sure will come along at some point in the future.


So talking of computers, I have been sorting out suitable pictures for the next episode in the drama series…Galapagos Part III. Sullivan Bay,  Santiago


The boat had travelled overnight to our anchorage in Sullivan Bay. It was a sight to behold as the sun came up.



After a three course breakfast, we enjoyed some light snorkelling in the crystal clear waters. Then it was off to the shore for some more exploring before it got too hot. This was just as well, because it was on this Island 100 years ago that they had a spectacular volcanic eruption. The lava fields here are very similar to those in Lanzarote, but with no development what so ever since then.  It is a desolate, arid place. That said, the patterns in the solidified Lava are fascinating. Whilst it is all petrified now, it still gives the appearance of being molten, and it has an eerie feeling that time has been made to stand still and that as soon as you go, it will all start moving once again……..Far too vivid an imagination for my own good!


Despite this desolation the Island used to sport a population of some 75,000 goats until very recently. They were destroying what little vegetation exists here, and some of the fauna is unique to this Island.



So over a three year period all of the goats were “dealt with” buy rangers in helicopters with high powered rifles. This was because  they were not an indigenous creature, having been  brought in originally by farmers. Then turning feral after these early settlers abandoned the Island.





The Local “ rather Phallic” cactus is now thriving in amongst the lava fields, there are numerous rock plants, as well as many beautiful Lava Lizards, and as soon as you get close to the shore line the two “stars “ of the show……………………..


First up the marine Iguana……………These prehistoric creatures are so ugly and ungainly on land. But when you snorkel and see these guys under water. Well they are still Coyote ugly…….but boy are they great swimmers.  Mind you with a diet of algae scraped of the rocks it is hardly surprising they are ugly. Wouldn’t you be?



They are cold blooded creatures, so after a full gourmet al a carte Algae “blow out” they come ashore to bask in the sun to warm themselves up once again, before heading back into the water for another gastronomic “tour de force”.






But the biggest star of them all on this Island, and so many others is the Sally Lightfoot Crab.



These exquisitely coloured crabs are abundant on the foreshore. Well actually that is not correct. It is more like a Crab version of the Alfred Hitchcock movie “The Birds”, but without the music and not quite so intimidating! The adult crabs are between 3 and 4 inches shoulder to shoulder, up to a max of 5 inches wide including the legs. They are, as you can see, brilliant orange and red, and have yellow and “Daz” white undersides, with flashes of electric blue. The iris of the eyes is a violet colour set in a white and black bulging polyp. Vivian Westwood would be insanely jealous of these guys outfits……They remind me more of an Andy Warhol picture on steroids than the plain old common crab in the UK.. They are very tame and will let you get to within a couple of inches of them before they will decide to retreat to the waterline in a sedate and steadfast manner. They like the Iguana feed on algae and other debris that washes up on the tide.  


Oops, I have completely blown my picture budget on this blog entry. Only another 1853 pictures to go………………………..


Next up,  Bartolome………………………