We set of from Panama City about 10 days ago and our now in Galapagos. I can’t include many photos as the internet is very slow here.
We enjoyed Panama City but after a final provisioning trip we were, as always glad to be moving again. We were looking forward to getting back to the islands after nearly a month near Colon and in Panama City.
The first stop after Panama City is the Las Perlas Islands about 50 miles south. We needed to do a final clean of our hull to ensure it was good enough for the Galapagos and we hoped the water was cleaner here than in Panama City. We thought the water temperature at 22c was rather cool but with wet suits on and deep breathes we got on with the job! We also visited a little settlement on one of the islands but this was very remote and although friendly we were definitely the tourist attraction!
The trip of 6 days to the Galapagos was uneventful and we were pleased to only motor for 30 hours out of 150 hours. This trip goes through the doldrums and is notorious for poor winds. Sadly our code zero which did a fantastic job in the light winds has ripped. We are hopeful we can get it mended here in Galapagos as we will miss it on the long trip to the Marquesas. You are supposed to celebrate crossing the Equator but for us it was 9.30 in the morning and after night watches that didn’t seem like a great idea. We allowed ourselves a glass of wine with supper, which we do not usually do on passage.
We were expecting a thorough bio security inspection on arrival in Galapagos and we had spent considerable time ensuring our hull was clean, the boat clean, no raw meat, no vegetables, many labels, numerous waste disposal bins. Clearing in was an experience. 9 officials got on board. No divers – they are all sick, apparently. It took about 1 hour and it was not really clear who was doing what. They checked our safety equipment and our paper chart, which covers the whole “other side of the world”, was deemed to be sufficient for emergency navigation. I fear there is much process, officialdom and corresponding checking but little real or useful rigour. We are all for sensible bio security but when you actually see what is happening on land we, as cruisers, are not the real risk.
We are just feeling a little underwhelmed by Galapagos at the moment. I know – first world problem. The cruising is very restricted and everything costs money. Perhaps we have just been spoilt and have become used to such freedom. Truthfully we are yet to see amazing wildlife but hopefully that will come. The sea lions at San Cristobal are great to watch and do get everywhere and that includes our swimming platform. Unfortunately sea lions do what sea lions do, and they are very smelly! Julian spent a good hour, moaning and grumbling, cleaning after them! Our defences have been reinforced!