Snow Leopard
Fri 7 May 2010 23:15

Panama to Galapagos – Part 2

0:53.74S 89:36.8W



Arrival in the Galapagos


Our closing on the Galapagos was prefaced by a red-footed booby (that’s a sea-bird for the ignorant!) sleeping on the guard wires throughout our last night. Finally Isla San Christobal appeared through the haze and on our run into the island we were met by dolphins, a humpback whale and sea-birds unique to the islands such as the red-footed boobies and Galapagos petrels.


We finally anchored in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno (Wreck Bay) on Saturday evening after 6 days from the Islas Perlas. Considering the light wind, always on the nose we had done quite well.


Our intention was to just spend the night here before moving on next morning to Puerto Ayora on Isla Santa Cruz, but we decided that this was a better anchorage, especially if we were to leave the boat for a few days. Next morning a local agent, Bolivar came out to the boat and talked through the various options for staying in the Galapagos, which are very tightly controlled. Yachts arriving without arranging a permit prior to arrival are allowed to stay for up to 20 days, but must remain in one of two ports for the entire duration of the stay. It is possible to apply for an ‘autographo’ beforehand which allows the boat to travel between three ports in the archipelago. We negotiated with Bolivar who sad it may be possible to obtain an autographo after about 8 days if he could send the application off to Quito in Ecuador immediately. We agreed that this would be our preferred option and we are now awaiting the outcome.


Meanwhile we have discovered that Puerto Baquierizo Moreno is a charming little town, considerably enlarged and developed over the last few years, particularly as the airport has been improved to handle international flights.


After a lazy couple of days relaxing after the voyage and sorting the boat out, we took a 7-hout taxi ride (4-door pick-up actually) around the island to see all the sights and the unique flora and fauna of these islands. San Christobal is the oldest of the Galapagos, formed about 4 million years ago and therefore has more established vegetation than some of the newer volcanic islands. There is an excellent interpretation centre here, explaining the geology, unique flora and fauna and the human history of the island. We visited beautiful deserted beaches to watch the sea lions and blue marine iguanas, drove through the clouds to the highest levels on the island and went to a tortoise sanctuary and breeding centre for the unique San Christobal giant tortoises.


San Christobal vegetation


Feeding time


Bath time




Shy – won’t come out of shell


Galapagos finch – one of 14 different sub-species, but I don’t which one!


Chatham mockingbird


The tortoise hatchery


And another finch!


Marine iguana




Puerto Baqierizo Moreno (Wreck Bay) San Christobal




Each of the islands, due to their isolation has developed their own varieties of birds, flora and the giant tortoises. Unfortunately the early effect of Man visiting these islands wiped out 5 of the indigenous species of tortoise (Galapago is Spanish for tortoise) and there are now major efforts to conserve the remaining species.


Crater lake


Lucy, Tony and Bernardo, the taxi driver, striding around the crater lake


Sally Llightfoot crab





The last few days have been spent cleaning and maintaining the boat (a never-ending process) visiting a few local sights, such as the volcanic crater lake, and enjoyable evenings ashore drinking and dining with various fellow yachties.


Tony leaves us in the next couple of days and we shall then, hopefully stay a couple more weeks visiting other islands before heading the 3000 miles across the Pacific to the Marquesas in French Polynesia


Oh yes – the enemy?

We are fighting a defensive action to stop sea lions boarding the boat. They are wonderful, fascinating creatures that one could watch all day, but the do like to get aboard boats for a nice comfortable sleep. Unfortunately once there they are messy, smelly and unwilling to leave. That is not too much of a problem with the small pups, but a 250lb. bull sea lion is a distinctly different and more difficult matter! 


Our defences


The enemy


Dangerous-looking aren’t they!



Hi there


Pretending to be a shark


We give up