Equator & Galapagos
Les Perlas to Galapagos was a dream Pacific crossing. Looking at the forecast we estimated that about 3 days of the 6 day sail would be motoring through the doldrums. Someone was looking after us as we found wind nearly the whole way across and cracking along at 7.5 kts day and night in dream conditions we coasted in on San Cristobel ( SE Galapagos island) within 5 days.
Saorsa just ate up the miles and thankfully the wildlife proved more problematic than the weather. Firstly a monster fish decided to grab hold of our fishing lure – the reel just zoomed out then jammed coming to an abrupt stop at the end of the line. We were left with half a hook, no lure and a knackered reel!.
Then the boobies (Galapgos birds)descended. At first this was a novelty and we enjoyed taking photos then it got out of hand - 100 miles out his mates joined in, they perched them selves on our guard rail and pooped a lot. We cut up a "t" shirts and hung strips on the guard rail to try and deter them, no impact what so ever – more arrived. Out with the hose pipe, – it just worked to shoot them off for 30 seconds and then they were back, we tried a catapult with grapes and a water pistol. As a last ditch attempt; the fog horn – they didn’t even flinch. I gave up and went to bed as our friends seemed to settle in for a night ride.
With our freeloaders on board we crossed the Equator at 0055 in the morning. Karen had crossed before and as “Shellback” and assumed the rightful role of Neptune. Us “Pollywoks” then had to perform for Neptune, answer to our crimes,( which were spot on and we nearly died laughing). These are not for public consumption but there is a very good video we may share one day. Karen was in her element and did a fabulous job. We toasted Neptune with champagne by which time we had drifted north again, so set sail and crossed the equator again. A very memorable early morning celebration.
San Cristobel ( Galapagos Islands) came into sight early that morning and as Kicker Rock became more visible the island emerged in all its glory looking just the same as when the first Spanish explorers found it in the mid 1500s, and as Darwin had found it; …. No roads, no buildings, nothing.
We were among the first boats to set our anchor in Puerto
Baquerizo, and luckily the ARC had an agent who guided the 12 officials, and diver, ( inspecting the hull), through the rigorous entry process. We were warned about the seals finding homes on our boats and were well entertained by the turf war for Luna(paddleboard).
Our favorite island was Isabella and if anyone is going to Galapagos make sure you spend most of your time here. It was just how I imagined the Galapagos to be, undeveloped with only 3000 people, and we were surrounded by nature & wildlife everywhere. Penguins, sea lions, sea and land iguana, blue footed boobies, frigate birds, turtles,(land and sea), stingray….. . It was feast of nature that we all just absorbed and loved.
We biked for miles, walked up volcanos, across small islands, swam, kayked and dived and slept incredibly well- our legs didn’t know what had hit them.
A huge highlight for me was the diving. Firstly Kicker Rock which was ok, but I found it a difficult dive due to the visibility and current. Gordons rock, on the other hand was just awesome. I thought I would be scared diving with sharks, but no it was awe inspiring experience, watching the white tip and black tip sharks play -some of considerable size and the unusual shape of hammerhead just going about their business. Mixed in with rays, turtles, brightly coloured reef fish and rick formations – it has to be top of my diving experiences ever.
Santa Cruz was a provisioning stop and the ARC base for the start of the next leg. The town was a tourist town and not what we had expected – the good thing is that it is the only town on the island and the rest of the island, like the other islands in Galapagos, are for the wildlife and animals.
The big boat news – we better get use to tined food, with a three week passage ahead – the fridge has stopped working, we have had three Galapagos fridge men and their families on board to try and fix it and its still broke!
The Galapagos was truly a unique experience for us, having the privilege of seeing so much unusual wildlife thriving in its own environment. Another few fabulous few weeks – nipping ourselves to ensure its not a dream. Next a three week, 3000 mile ocean passage - to the Marquises.