Tin Tin's Sailing Calendar

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Galapagos at last

I was on watch as dawn arrived in a riot of red astern, and there Ahead was San Cristobal, looking low and lumpily volcanic under spectacular clouds lit with the morning firework show.

Then suddenly there was sea life all around with dolphins leaping, Great black manta rays leaping out of the sea or grazing with their black and white wing tips waving like a pair of sharks fins. Later came masses of great turtles, loggerheads probably, and the calm sea was dotted with great dark floating humps, which would wake up to our approach, raise heads onalarm and then dive through clear water ahead of us, easily seen from the bows. Masses of birds swirled around us as we entered Stephens Bay and passed close to a great rock outcrop stained white with the guano of millions of frigate birds and blue faced boobies.

Finally we dropped anchor in Wreck Bay at 11:30. Our agent finally arrived at 15:30 and collected the paperwork. An hour later she returned with Customs, immigration, sanitation, ecologist (with flippers and snorkel), and another naval person in spotless white uniform. After the team had dealt with form filling, signing, stamping with TinTins stamp, diving to check the bottom, inspecting foodstuffs, photographing engine and cabin contents the agent then set about getting me to pay everyone's fees which came to $1420. That included an extra hundred because our fumigation certificate (valid 3 months) was deemed only valid for 1 month because they hadn't used smoke. We also had to dispose of a mango, but I was allowed to eat it, as long as it was done immediately. In addition some of this may have to be repeated for each port we visit in the islands. Now we are allowed ashore - a beer is needed by the captain methinks!

However we found that a sea lion had already taken up residence on our swimming platform and had to be poked off with a broomstick. We then hoist the dinghy to block stern access and caught a water taxi ashore. On the way we passed moored dinghies and fishing boats covered with dozens of sea lions. It's going to be a challenge keeping them off!

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