Monday, 3 April 2017

Crossing the Equator - two up to the Galapagos

We arrived safely in Galapagos after an uneventful and windless for the last two days crossing from Las Perlas.  But we successfully made it two up without incident including flying the asymmetric two up and the poled-up genoa.  We had company the whole way, with Miss Tiggy following us as their autopilot wasn’t working and and it’s much easier, when hand-steering, to follow – especially at night.  There was no moon so it was very dark and the stars and planets were magnificent.

We also had company in the form of birds: four of them perched on the pulpit all the last night, leaving a lot of guano evidence, and each night white birds swooped around our navigation lights.  I’m not sure what was in it for them, but they accompanied us for hours and it felt as though they were watching over us on those long (4 hour) night watches. This system gave us just enough sleep over five nights, although dodging fishing vessels on the last night into Galapagos was tiring.

We crossed the equator at 3am and paid homage to Neptune, though we had celebrated with a bottle of champagne when Miss Tiggy swam across at 5pm.  We did have two days of good sailing in flat seas.

San Cristobal is our first Galapagos island, with a bustling little town and efficient water taxis to pick you up from your boat – just as well, as any dinghy left in the water for even a moment is colonised by smelly, moulting sea lions.  We all put fenders and other obstacles on the boat’s swimming platform (our “seal defences”), but several friends have had their cockpit occupied overnight.  The whole archipelago is a national park with very strict ecological rules, so when we arrived we were visited by eight officials, who checked that we were separating our rubbish (though when we came ashore we found it all goes in one bin…), didn’t have any fruits with seeds on board (I hid the lemons at the back of the fridge) and that the boat’s bottom was clean. 
Miss Tiggy

Movement of yachts between islands is strictly regulated, so there’s a whole industry of ferries and tours – we are hoping to visit Espanola on Wednesday.  Yesterday we went diving (Charles) and snorkelling (Nicky) to Kicker Rock (Leo Dormido), an impressive hunk of rock with masses of sea birds, including blue-footed boobies and frigate birds displaying their red neck pouches.  It was rather overcast, so not ideal diving conditions, but we ticked off various sharks, including a hammerhead, as well as many fish and impressively large turtles, close enough to touch.
Punta Pitt, San Cristobal

Ecuador held an election yesterday and citizens were not allowed to drink alcohol for 48 hours leading up to election day.  Might a similar ban have affected the Brexit vote or the US elections?  Anyway, today there is a recount and it seems the same party has stayed in power – at least, I think that’s what our taxi aquatico driver said.  One thing I definitely do NOT miss is politics!

No comments:

Post a Comment