Welcome to the Maunie of Ardwall blog

This is the blog of Maunie of Ardwall. After a six-year adventure sailing from Dartmouth to Australia, we are now back in Britain.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Safely arrived in Galapagos

We are delighted to report safe arrival in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, San Cristobal at about 16.00 local time. The wind died this morning so we had to motor for about 5 hours but it gave us the chance to have showers and tidy the boat en route.
We were still in the process of anchoring when a water taxi arrived alongside and Karmela, our local agent / fixer came aboard. She speaks not a word of English so Graham's dreadful Spanish was called into action; we gave her the required bits of paper and she said she'd return within the hour with the officials. Sure enough, 30 minutes later the taxi returned with Karmela plus a lady from the National Parks office (who manages the strict quarantine regulations), the Port Captain (an Ecuadorian naval officer) and Pablo. Not sure what Pablo's role was but he smiled genially, especially when we offered beers all round.
Karmela did her stuff with consummate ease so the form-filling needed little input from us. The quarantine officer eyed our net of oranges hanging under the spray-hood and explained that they were not allowed here and therefore we had to make them into orange juice "NOW". We nodded and agreed and then said we'd rather do it in the morning if she didn't mind, which seemed to be ok after Karmela said a few calming words; I'm sure some of the oranges will be converted to juice. Apart from that it was all very jolly and we are now officially legal visitors to Galapagos -  though Karmela will take our passports to immigration in the morning for the final act of bureaucracy. The downside is that it's cost us $600 US dollars, including the obligatory $100 each for National Park permits so, as we knew  in advance, a visit to Galapagos ain't cheap! Still, we just couldn't sail past the place.
Already we have a taste of the wildlife, with sea lions swimming around the boat (they try to climb aboard if you have a bathing platform at the stern!) and Frigate birds wheeling above us. The anchorage has perhaps a dozen yachts, several of which we recognise, and the town looks small but inviting so we're heading ashore for a meal with Heidi and Peter from Stormvogel. We'll tell you more and upload some photos in a couple of days' time.

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