Ferry from San Cristobal to Santa Cruz with Inspiration Ladys was minimally uncomfortable as one of 25 sardines in a very small cruiser. The three 200 HP outboards whisked us to destination in a scant two hours with only two riders heaving over the side. Cuisine was scrumptious crackers and a cup of Coke from a friendly steward balancing all while pouring and serving.
Hotel Darwin was first seen, by accident, on a side street and was at perfect level of evolution from cheap hostel to expensive four star. Puerto Ayora, catering to tourists, is an island Santa Fe, with artsy-fartsy everywhere. Twice Puerto Baquerizo at 12 thousand, it's still a fun place.
After late breakfast in Puerto Ayora caught a taxi to see more tortoises, biggest yet, but really, the law of diminishing returns had set in and we had just seen enough turtles. In same area Gary and I crawled through a lava tube while claustrophobic Jackie met us with driver at exit to help clean off accumulated mud. Shouldn't a lava tube be full of lava?
Met Bristol Roses and John from "JC" for dinner and obligatory ice cream.
No internet or SSB, so will accumulate this nonsense for mass dump upon return to Wreck Bay.
Good diving. Water clarity didn't suck, but could have been better. Haven't looked at stills and video, waiting for camera case to dry, but anticipate the odd decent shot.
Should have terrific film of several juvenile sea lions cavorting around at initial, equipment checkout/snorkel stop (great fun, but mostly designed to weed out knuckle-heads prior to moderately difficult dives).
Ran through gap between spires on first dive at Kicker Rock, then around outside wall of smaller on second. Borrowed 5 mil full wetsuit to fend off third degree goose bumps in nippy water. Not much coral, but a ton of turtles, fish, white tip, black tip and Galapagos sharks, sting rays and flights of big spotted eagles. No hammerheads. No whale shark. Primary purpose of beautiful beach stop on return was to feed horseflies. Pictures will arrive blog by and by.
Would have sailed, tomorrow, to Puerto Ayora with Bristol Rose but agent snafu delayed their zarpe (departure permit) until, at least, after 0700 ferry. Dinero for Monday tour to Isla Seymore (nesting birds like frigates and, yes Cal, boobies) has been plunked. Darwin Research Center, lava tubes and other delights await Tuesday morning prior to return ferry at 1400.
Probability of boat being ready to depart at end of week for Marquesas with other reprobates, insignificantly above zero.
Sea Lions, See
Rainy morning; beautiful, clear, windy afternoon. Appreciate 20 day limit for cruisers who stop over en route to Marquesas. Temptation to hang around would keep many here. Friendly people, interesting town, inexpensive restaurants, unique wildlife, world class diving and snorkeling, sea lions littering the waterfront, good surfing breaks either side of harbor entrance and, of course, blue footed boobies. Does that mean that their feet are sad or that only ambulatory birds are? (OK, it's a stretch, but work for it)
Peruvian band on shore is playing "Sounds of Silence" with traditional instruments. It's quite good.
After varnishing, lost all initiative for additional fruitfulness. Besides taking and retrieving laundry ($1 a kilo), eating, drinking and reading have suffused the day. Surely there's at least a semi-deadly sin in there somewhere. OK, also worked on adding pictures to the blog when internet was intermittently up, but fear words such as 'useful' and 'productive' are not appropriately associated with that activity.
Just don't have anything worth a chuckle tonight. Perhaps by tomorrow the muse of foolish nonsense (pretty sure her name is Bambi) will slap me up side the head with the magic zucchini (although fairies have remained with wands, most former stick bearers have gone to something with more heft) of inspiration. Hope it's not too painful.
Finished teak caprail, went to shore for an American style breakfast and, later, got run over by a large boat. Normal day in paradise. In order: looks good, tasted good and !@#$%^&*()_+. Inattentive and judgment challenged crew allowed small cruise ship to drag down on Inspiration Lady, just missing, then me, just hitting. No damage, so a rollicking good time was had by all.
After less than two weeks since cleaning, waterline looked like Bubba Whartz's "Right Guard" (Latitudes & Attitudes Magazine), but was, at least mostly, barnacle free. Long green tendrils come off anti-fouling OK, but on boot-stripe, nuclear weapons wouldn't be overkill. Little buddy sea lions didn't show during scrubbing. Will check equipment for Saturday dive by brushing off fur below waterline tomorrow.
Jacksters and I will scuba at Kicker Rock while others snorkel with high expectation of seeing, among many other things, white tip, black tip and hammerhead sharks. Plan Sunday sail to Santa Cruz on "Bristol Rose", who have autografo allowing it, with Monday tour of Isla Seymore. Major attraction are blue-footed boobies. Of course, top-selling items appear to have various ways of saying "I Love Boobies". Tasteless T-shirts invade Galapagos - make mine an extra large, por favor. Return to boat on Wednesday and depart for Marquesas, possibly, the weekend.
Puerto Baquerizo Moreno
Friends provided bad influence, forcing late dinner, then two desserts at different places. Surprised at level of evening activity. For a small town (whole island has six thousand residents) businesses have a long night. This place now on record as new favorite place on the planet, displacing old NFPP.
Day went close to planned including standard over-optimistic expectation - didn't snorkel, didn't quite finish second varnish coat and rum became beer, but not bad. May, he said confidently, finish second coat and sand for final tomorrow. Hoping to snorkel midday.
Two juvenile sea lions have adopted the boat as their proprietary playground. Hope their rubbing against hull is removing soft growth. The cavorting often splashes water on brightwork for which they display no apparent remorse. Like with teenagers everywhere, efforts at reason have proven futile. Also typically, youngsters frolic and oldsters grumble - all night.
Pretty bland, but long day, short night. Tah.
San Cristobal Tortoise
Toured some of San Cristobal today. Most interesting thing at El Progresso, small settlement with plantation ruins of a hated rich guy, was a hotel room up in what must be the largest tree in all Galapagos (upscale Tarzan). Reasonable rates. Cool! El Junco, fresh water lake in a volcano crater, was a long walk in the clouds. Giant tortoise breeding facility (No, Cal, the turtles were very discrete) was a long walk with a number of the fairly fleet(relative term)-footed beasts. Puerto Chino was a long walk to a white sand beach surrounded by volcanic rock. Lunch, at an isolated restaurant was excellent and required minimal ambulation. Based on some reading and "Master and Commander", expected less vegetation and more moonscape, but this is oldest of archipelago.
Began taping to varnish brightwork this afternoon. With last coat nearly six months old, don't want to wait possible additional two to Nuku Hiva (next smooth anchorage at far end of Marquesas). Considering just cap rail and scroll boards first, then see. Trying to remember reason for buying a teak encrusted boat. Expecting epiphany any moment. Wait, wait - because it looks good?... Naaaah, that's ridiculous.
Tomorrow should be simple in seven steps: Tape, sand, varnish, snorkel, shop, varnish, rum.