San Cristobol Island, Galapagos…..

Dear F&F,
May 11, 2009

We knew \”Sky Dancer\” was scheduled to move from Santa Cruz back to San Cristobal that night so I was looking for her. Just before 5:00 a.m. she appeared. Scott got up & spoke to their captain on VHF radio asking if we could follow them in. He said yes, so we had the benefit of a leading boat plus first light. What a difference! Many cruising boats, including several other catamarans. Plenty of room for everyone. Flat water, as the island protects Wreck Bay from the wind & swell.

We flew the Q (quarantine) & Ecuador flags & then I conked out from 6:30-9:30 a.m. Scott took the dinghy ashore on a scouting mission since we needed to find an agent to check in. We heard that other boaters had a perfectly fine stay at Academy Bay a month or so ago. So we suspect the weather has everything to do with the conditions there. But it was certainly more crowded & seemed very industrial to us. Scott quickly found 3 agents & after we got a thumbs-up from the dive master on one of them, we engaged Bolivar. He took our passports & copies of our other documents yesterday. Otherwise Sunday was a recovery day. Today he showed up on the dot at 9:00 a.m. & we went him to Immigration. We don\’t get our passports back until tomorrow. I guess they want to check if we are wanted criminals or some such thing. To get our international Zarpe to leave we will contact the agent 2 days before our departure date. The fees here are not as expensive as for our stay at Coco. There was no onboard inspection by the Navy or required fumigation as was rumored.

The fearless sea lions climb onboard wherever they can. *SEE PHOTO GALLERY* All the catamarans with our inviting stern steps are targets. We tried stringing lines across but that is not much of deterrence. The small ones wriggle under. They could easily make their way up into the cockpit, although they have not done this yet. We love to see them in the water, but it is not so amusing to have a large wild animal outside the front door, or blocking your way to your car (dinghy). We have to figure out a better way to block them. They cough & sneeze & bark & take turns knocking each other off the steps. It is pretty funny, as long as I can keep my Good Humor hat on.

On the taxi boat to shore (50 cents each – such a bargain) we met a couple of other cruisers. One couple is leaving for the Marquesas today. She said they enjoyed a land tour here with a taxi driver recommended by Bolivar. We arranged the same thing, beginning at 8:00 am tomorrow.

I need to start being more realistic on what these third world places are going to be like, despite romantic names like Costa Rica & the Galapagos. The town here is very similar to Turtle Bay, in Baja Mexico: dirty & depressing (in my opinion). The shopping opportunities are limited to small \”tiendas\”. The meat is not of a quality that I am willing to eat. I am so glad that Mike can bake bread. We will be eating a lot of beans & rice on the way to the Marquesas…

We had a half hour stop at an internet site, but not good enough to do Skype so not very interesting to me. I did get to retrieve Skye\’s e-card for Mothers Day, so that was worthwhile. We had a soft serve ice cream cone. I left the shore visit feeling quite down. I think the fatigue of the passage combined with uneasiness about leaving the boat unattended for a week while we go diving, plus the burden of provisioning with limited resources have put me in a funky mood. Hopefully tomorrow we\’ll be getting out to see the real beauty of this place and help wash away the blues.

Hope to send a happier Galapagos report after tomorrow. I am most looking forward to snorkeling with penguins a week from today!
Scott & Cindy