160 down and 2760 to go!

Wed 30 Jul 2003 23:17
01 36 south, 093 38 west.
Hello from the sunny South Pacific.
We are now on our second day out from the gorgeous Isabella and all is well!
Not much to report about the sailing as we are still getting into the swing
(of roll) of things. The good news is we feel very prepared for the passage
and our good friend Mark is in his boat doing the same thing just a couple
of miles away. (Someone to talk to when we see whales, ships etc.) We hope
to have a safe fast passage and are already thinking about how to visit the
Galapagos again!
Cheers B+G

Our 20 day visas were just enough time to get a good look at the three
inhabited islands of the wondrous Galapagos. San Christobal, the laid back
capital with seals lounging on the main street. Santa Cruz, the centre of
tourist activity and home of the Charles Darwin research station, saving the
giant tortoises. Then finally to Isla Isabella the largest yet least
populated island of the archipelago.
Wether its the fact that it was the last land we will see for 20 days or
the sandy streets and friendly people of Peuto Villamil, Isabella has taken
the prize of our favourite stop. We could have stayed another month
exploring her volcanic features and observing the varied wild life. There
can't be to many places where you can watch penguins sunning themselves on a
rock from your boat in a protected anchorage, then see pink flamingos in
there natural habitat out the back of the bread shop!
The highlight of our stay was a day trip to the islands largest volcano
creator. An early morning truck ride up through the ever changing vegetation
zones was delayed many times to view the colourful bird life before arriving
at the end of the road. Here surrounded by a dense mist our group took to
horse back and headed onwards up a muddy trail. After an hour of plodding
(and discovering forgotten muscle groups!) the trail levelled out and our
guide informed us that we were on the ridge surrounding one of the worlds 10
largest volcanic creators. Great we all thought as we now trotted along the
eastern edge with 10 foot visibility, a real photo opportunity!! Then, as he
had promised, we emerged from the wet cloud to bright sun and the view 10 km
across the creator with its crust of solid lava holding back further
eruptions. The rest of the day was spent exploring the rock formations of
the latest area of activity, about 30 years ago. Photographing the varied
patterns of solid lava and peering into holes that steamed and smelt
reminding us that this still a live volcano and that the hole island is just
a series of eruptions joined together.
Now out at sea with nothing but horizon surrounding us for many days we
will have plenty of time to reflect on our short time in these interesting
Ecuadorian islands.

To see a chart of our position go to
http://www.pangolin.co.nz/yotreps/reporter_list.php and click on AVALON
under the boat identifiers list.