Departure Day - Galapagos to Hiva Oa - June 1st

SY Saphir -
Jeff & Doreen
Thu 2 Jun 2022 21:35
0:45.54S 90:17.78W

There is a standing joke between Mike (son) and myself about this long awaited blog. Well here is a start….

We have had a great time in the Galapagos Islands and certainly they should not be missed on a Pacific crossing but, as always, it is certainly time to leave here and get back to the peace and solitude of being at sea again - even Doreen agrees with that now she has made a few ocean passages! Never thought I would say that….

We visited three harbours / islands, Wreck Bay on San Cristobal, Puerto Villamil on Isabela and finally Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz. These are the only three harbours you are allowed to go to as a cruising yacht without taking a guide onboard which we certainly did not want to do. The wildlife was quite special and generally very tame. The snorkelling was excellent. It was amazing to be able to snorkel with Sharks and Turtles which we did on more than one occasion and also to see a Blue Footed Booby doing a mating dance - I felt sorry for him after all the effort he went to because Mrs Booby just flew off and left him at the end. Obviously playing hard to get!! The 16km walk to the top of the volcanos on Isabela was a hard day but well worth the effort. All of these tours have to be taken with official guides from the National Parks who are extremely knowledgable and give you a lot of information and history. The guide that we had on the trip to Floreana never wore shoes and we were walking over Lava rock!!

The towns on the islands are really very different. Puerto Villamil on Isabella is like an old western town with sand on the main roads. As you walk down the street you’re expecting someone to get thrown out of a bar and shot in front of you… Puerto Ayora in Santa Cruz is certainly the most built up with lots of shops and restaurants, I even manage too get my iPhone fixed which needed a new power board after it decided to pack up the day before we left. It only took 3 hours for the chap to repair it. San Cristobal is halfway between the two. We also had a good trip ov er the weekend to an island called Santa Maria or Floreana to give it the local name. I wanted to see the historic post office which is just a barrel on a beach from the days when sailors would drop their mail off and another ship which was going in the right direction would collect it. Unfortunately, although we got to the island we were unable to get to the post office because the tour boats need a special licence to go there. However we stayed the night in a local guest house on the beach (Palma Negra) and had good time off the boat. The local tour boats are interesting and could certainly do with some maintenance. I had to collect some tools and parts of Saphir to do an electrical repair before we could leave the harbour! 

Poor Saphir is very heavy at the moment. We have almost 300 L of diesel, we are full of water, stocked with more food than enough not to mention the liquid refreshments. I dived on the boat just before we departed to give the hull a clean. There was only really some scum on the bottom but it all helps. The weather is looking a bit quiet with light winds to start with so we may be a little bit slower than normal. 

Next stop Hiva Oa in the Marquesas. Approximately 3000 miles to go. 

SY Saphir