Bookmark and Share
We left Gig Harbor, WA in 2009 and spent 3 winters in the Sea of Cortez then sailed to the Galapagos Islands, French Polynesia up to Hawaii, then to San Francisco Bay. We are once again enjoying the Sea of Cortez as we plan our next adventure.
Vulcan Sierra Negra
05/05/2012, Isla Isabela

Happy Cinco de Mayo!
We celebrated with a death march to the local volcano. It's one of the big tours on this island and everyone we talked to said it's worth it, so we gave it a try and it was great -- though sometimes painful. It was about 10 miles round trip -- you can do a shorter version where you only see the big caldera (2nd largest in the world) but Julio, our National Parks guide asked if we wanted to go on the other nearby peak, Volcan Chico. We were glad we did because the view and lava tunnels were just beautiful, but it did make for a longer hike with more up and downs, but since I survived it I would say it was worth it. We were very lucky as we had some overcast weather today, so we didn't suffer from the heat and we didn't even get rain.
So now that we're happily back home aboard Cetus, we'll have a Margarita to celebrate one of Terry's favorite holidays.

| | More
More Galapagos Pics!
05/03/2012, Puerto Ayora, Isla Santa Cruz

My internet time here in Puerto Ayora went way too fast so I didn't accomplish all I wanted to -- but I have put together a few more albums in our gallery -- enjoy!

| | More
What's next?
05/01/2012, The Galapagos

We've had a few people asking us now that we've reached the Galapagos what's next on our agenda. And until we reached here we weren't really certain, because from here we could head SW to French Polynesia or E to Panama -- both were intriguing, but we only like to make plans one port at a time.

It seems we're planning on sailing to the Gambiers when our time is up here. They are a part of French Polynesia that is a bit off the beaten path, as most boats go from here to the Marguesas. Well, we've been to the Marquesas and even though they are farther south, the distance to the Gambiers is about the same -- infact a couple hundred miles less.

So that's the plan (for now) and after the Gambiers we will go to Tahiti and then into the Tuamotus until our 90 days is up in French Polynesia. Then it will be up to Hawaii to wait out the South Pacific cyclone season which runs from November through March. Our friend Vicky, on Inspiration at Sea will be leaving the Galapagos for French Polynesia sooner than us, as she will be meeting her daughter there in June. We plan to meet back up in Tahiti shortly after that.

So those are the latest plans we've been writing in the sand.....

| | More
05/02/2012 | Susan Rabe
Sounds like you two are having a great time. Enjoying life on the Pacific.
Wildlife of the Galapagos

I finally am able to upload pictures -- it's a slow process with this internet connection, but I'm not complaining!

My first album is Wildlife of the Galapagos and features the Flamingos, Penguins, Marine Iguana, Tortoise, Sea Lions and other wildlife we've been enjoying on these islands.

In the next few days I hope to add more albums showing the towns, highlands, underwater and more.


| | More
Internet at last!!
04/29/2012, Isla Isabela

WiFi has been nearly non existent to me since we arrived on Isabela, which has been very frustrating to me since our boat neighbor, Vicky on Inspiration at Sea has been able to pick up the intermittent signals from the government supplied WiFi, redgal, since we got in.

The reason she could get it and I couldn't was she had a WiFi antenna that extends her range. Well, I too have a WiFi antenna but it has been useless with the new computer because the drivers that came with it don't work with Windows 7. I knew this before we left Mexico, but in my mad rush to get the computer working with the ham radio systems for our passage, I ran out of time to get new drivers for the WiFi antenna and a few other systems I want to get going.

I've been too busy to worry too much about getting WiFi, but yesterday evening I went over to Vicky's, used her computer to locate the new driver online and loaded it on a memory stick and today tackled the problem. It took me the better part of the morning to get it all set up and working, but it finally is and we have WiFi! It may be slow and intermittent, but we'll finally be able to have a link to the outside world.

But best of all I will finally be able to post some of the pictures we've been taking the past few weeks!

| | More
Settling in on Isabela
04/27/2012, Puerto Villimil, Isla Isabela

When planning our cruise to the Galapagos we relied heavily on advice from our friends Roy and Winona on Saucy Lady, as they spent 54 days here a few years ago. One of the last things they told us was to clear into the country then make your way to Isabela to spend your time, so that's what we did -- and are happy we did.

The other ports we entered, San Christobal to check in and then Santa Cruz to pick up Joni were nice and the towns interesting, but this spot is ideal for a long stay. It's more protected than the other anchorages and less traffic from tour boats, so it is calm and the scenery is beautiful and the water inviting to swim right off the boat. There is a great dinghy dock ashore with garbage and recycling bins for us and it is a short walk to the cute little town of Puerto Villamil where we can buy supplies or have a meal out.

And there's nothing more delightful than waking up to penguins and the small sea lions swimming around the boat! This isn't the most beautiful anchorage we've ever been in -- the Tuamotus and even the Sea of Cortez offer more pristine and isolated anchorages, but we both agree this is the best back yard we've ever had.

So we've settled in here and don't plan to leave this spot until it's time to prepare to leave the Galapagos. Our permit expires on May 20th, so about a week before that we may move back to Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz (the big city) to do our final provisioning and check out of the country. So for now, we're happily at home on Isabela.

| | More
Boats, Planes and Automobiles
04/25/2012, Puerto Villimil, Isla Isabela

Joni's two weeks in the Galapagos flew by and yesterday we took her to the airport to begin her flight home. We needed to get her to Santa Cruz because the airport is on the small island of Baltra on the north of Santa Cruz and Santa Cruz is about 45 miles from where we are on Isabela.

We all decided that rather than spend time traveling there in Cetus, we should take the inter island "ferry" that runs daily between the two islands. That cut the travel time from about 10 hours in Cetus to 3 hours. We had to be in to the dock to catch the ferry at 6 am and were surprised to see it such a bustling place at that hour. Lots of people going to Santa Crus and they had two full boats . When we started out on the rough ride we thought it was going to be a very long 3 hours, but we actually made it in two so it wasn't so bad after all -- but it was nothing like a ferry at home, It was really just a 40 foot cabin cruiser -- sort of a converted sport fishing boat with padded benches for seating. Ours had a capacity of 24 people and there were 24 of us crowded in there.

Since the boat got in early we were able to sit down to a nice breakfast in Puerto Ayora before continuing on to the airport for her 12:30 flight. After breakfast, the next step was a 45 minute taxi ride (you can take a bus, but we wanted to go as efficiently as possible) to the north of Santa Cruz. Once at the top of the island you hop on a small foot ferry to cross the narrow canal that divides Santa Cruz from Baltra. On the other side there are buses waiting to take everyone to the airport -- because that's the only thing on Baltra.

So two boats, a bus and a taxi ride later (about 4 hours travel time) we got her to the airport and checked in for her flight. We then hopped on a bus, then the ferrry and a taxi and returned to Puerto Ayora and enjoyed the town a bit before we had to hop on the inter island ferry at 2:00 to return to Isabela.

It was a long travel day, but as always it was an adventure!

| | More
04/25/2012 | jack
sounds like your friend had the vacation of a lifetime...what's next for's Rosie?
Snorkeling and more
04/23/2012, isla Isabela

We had a long busy day yesterday starting out with a great snorkel in a nearby cove -- no guide required. In addition to an abundance of fish we saw a great big ray, but the real delight was all the marine iguana that would swim right by us! What a hoot.

Then after a short lunch break at the boat we loaded up our gear and took a tour boat out to the Tintoreras -- small islets just off of town (and the anchorage) that you can only access with a National Park tour guide. It was an interesting tour and we once again saw lots of marine iguana, and sea lions, blue footed boobies etc etc. The only drawback to the whole tour was on our earlier snorkeling trip I seemed to have a reaction to the anti fogging spray we used in our masks (thought we'd see if it worked better than spit) and I couldn't see! At least not well -- everything was blurry, much like being near sighted and not wearing glasses.

After much flushing with saline solution and even using my antibiotic eye drops, I could see again when I woke up this morning and they quit hurting. I have to admit it was a bit scary, but I couldn't imagine something used in a dive mask could have a permanent effect on your eyes -- but we did read on the bottle some people are irritated by it and to keep it out of your eyes. Guess I will go back to spit!

| | More
04/23/2012 | Dave C.
Learned in Hawaii: A couple of drops of Dawn dishwashing liquid mixed with water and put in a spray bottle will keep your mask from fogging. Works! Love reading about your adventures! Thanks for sharing and I too can't wait to see the pics! Hi to Rosie!
04/25/2012 | Amy
We use a drop of baby shampoo, rub it around, do a quick rinse and you are ready to go.
Los Tuneles
04/21/2012, isla Isabela

We took one of Anna Maria's highly recommended tours yesterday and had an amazing day despite the terribly wet and squally weather. We boarded a local tour boat and took a crazy 45 minutes boat ride through rough seas curlminating in a turn that looked like we were going directly into the surf, but our driver, Roberto, safely navigated the pass that we couldn't see into what I can only describe as a fairy land.

The Tuneles, or Tunnels, is a rocky labyrinth formed from rivers of lava that reached the sea and solidified forming countless cracks and tunnels. It formed a beautiful land/seascape and we were greeted at the entrance by blue footed boobies sitting on a rock followed by a couple penguins doing the same. Roberto continues to wind us around the shallow channels and we oohed and ahhed at the beauty of the place. Then he stopped the boat in the heart of the maze and we donned our snorkel gear and he then led us through going under bridges and tunnels of lava rock and seeing brightly colored fish, rays, and even a couple white tipped reef sharks.

Next we piled into the boat to head back out through the surf and then back in to another protected swimming area which is home to many sea turtles and we were thrilled to swim with many of the giant creatures. They were beautiful and graceful and just fascinating to watch.

It was a magical day.

| | More
04/22/2012 | Diana and Dale
Can't wait to see pictures
The Highlands
04/19/2012, isla Isabela

We weren't sure what to expect with our tour to the highlands -- it's not something in the guidebooks for this island. But Louis, our driver, thought this would be something we'd enjoy and he was right.

There seems to be only one road that heads out of town and if you follow it long enough you get up to the closest volcano -- but that's a tour for another day. So our highlands tour took us up a ways and Louis took us to one of the farms up there. The country side is extremely lush as you gain elevation and the views were spectacular.

Then he pulled into a lovely little family farm and we got to go around and look at everything and pick out what ever we wanted to buy to take back with us. They grew small amounts of everything you could imagine from tomatoes to papaya and even coffee beans! It was just beautiful and we came back loaded with green beans and peppers, giant papaya, pineapple, limes and a big hand of bananas. It was a wonderful trip and fun to get all the good fresh produce.

On the way down we stopped at one of the tourist sites where one of the many lava tunnels on the island opened up forming a deep cave. Tomorrow we'll go on a boat tour where we will see another lava tunnel and snorkel with the variety of fish that gather near the entrance.

Today we're enjoying a relaxing day on the boat -- it's Joni's birthday so we started it out with our favorite on board breakfast of Spam and pancakes and will just decide what to do as the day goes on.

It was the first day since our arrival in the Galapagos that we didn't have to get up and rush around to travel or do something ashore and it felt great to catch our breath.

The internet on this island is very slow so I'm not going to try to take my computer in to the Internet Cafe to up load pictures -- that will have to wait till we get back to Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz.

| | More
Flamingos! And more!
04/17/2012, isla Isabela

Our first day on Isabela was spent with a lot of time at the Port Captains office getting cleared in to this island. It would have been a lot quicker, but they had computer problems so we had to come back three times to see if it was up and running, and each time meant a long wait in the very small standing room only waiting room. We started when we first came in shortly after nine, had to check back at 2, and then finally completed the process at 5 pm. It was the usual $5.16 cent fee -- you pay it when you check in to an island and then again when you check out.

In the meantime we wallked and took in some of the local sites and checked out the town for the small tiendas (stores) and other services. Had a nice lunch on restaurant row and the best part of all is we met Anna Maria! She is an American living and working here right now, and we were told of her by some good friends back home -- she's a friend of their family and was a roomate of their daughter's in college. She's traveling and living in different countries and just happens to be here on Isabela right now. She's working in a tour agency and was able to set us up with a taxi driver that takes people on tours around the island.

So today we set off with Louis, our driver, and Anna Maria joined us and we went to Isabela;s tortoise breeding center and saw tortoises of all ages and sizes. Then we went to a pond where we were thrilled to see a flock of 9 flamingos in the wild! A real treat and one that Jonii has been looking forward too. We went on to see the Wall of Tears built by prisoners when this was a penal colony and we're excited to see several tortoise in the wild. it was a very good day.

Tomorrow morning we will meet Louis again and he will take us on a tour to the highlands -- can't wait to see what's in store there!

| | More
04/18/2012 | jack
Great reading Heidi..I know the Galapagos were high on your bucket list...I can image that your time there will seen to fly by...enjoy! One question...are flamingos indigenous to the Galapagos..if so how did they make the flight.....
On our way to Isla Isabela
04/15/2012, traveling through the Galapagps Archipelago

We left the big city behind when we pulled up anchor at 6 am for the 45 mile trip to Isla Isabella -- the largest island in the Galapagos chain. It promises to be the most interesting of all the islands that we're allowed to anchor in boasting penguins and flamingos in addition to all the usual critters -- tortoises, land and marine iguanas, seals and sea lions, and of course all of the other birds.

We plan to base ourselves there in the anchorage off of Puerto Villamil, the smallest of the 3 towns in these islands, while we explore not only Isabela, but take tours to some of the nearby islands that we can't visit on our own boat. We will stay about a week, until its time to sail back to Puerto Ayora for Joni's flight out on April 24th.

Look out penguins here we come!

| | More
Tortuga Bay
04/14/2012, Puerto Ayora, Isla Santa Cruz

We survived the 45 minute hike to Tortuga Bay and were rewarded first with a gorgeous white sand beach with tourquois breakers, then a bit further down a protected pool bordered with black lava rocks where we snorkeled and in addition to the many fish we swam with a marine iguana! Wow!

| | More
Fill 'er up!
04/13/2012, Puerto Ayora, Isla Santa Cruz

Today we'll get our fuel tanks filled. To get fuel here in the Galapagos you have to arrange it through your agent, and we did that when he came out with the Port Captain to clear us in on Thursday.

He'll come out at 9 am to collect the money and then back at noon to fill the tanks. The diesel costs $5.42 at the station but with the delivery charge it will be $6.00 per gallon.

So we'll spend the morning on the boat and after the fueling is complete we plan to go in to a nearby beach for some snorkeling -- so today won't be all work and no play.

| | More
04/13/2012 | jack
6 bucks a almost that much here.....Have a great day
Off to the market
04/13/2012, Puerto Ayora, Isla Santa Cruz

We learned there is a great Saturday Market for fresh fruits and vegetables, so the girls from Cetus and Inspiration are heading in to get some good provisioning done for our trip to Isabella tomorrow.

The afternoon plans have us hiking to nearby Tortuga Beach to see some sights and enjoy a beautiful beach.

| | More
Charles Darwin Research Center
04/12/2012, Puerto Ayora, Isla Santa Cruz

We had a wonderful time exploring the Charles Darwin Research Center, just a short walk from downtown Puerto Ayora -- seeing the giant tortoises and colorful land iguanas -- just unbelievable! We also saw the baby tortoises as they bring the eggs there from the various islands and incubate them then return them to where they belong.

One of the best sites of the day was on the walk there we went by a fish market at the side of the road -- first several pelicans showed up and stood behind the guy selling the fish, then a seal joined the crowd followed by a marine iguana and then another seal! So funny!

We all took probably 200 pictures each just on our 5 hour jaunt -- everything was just amazing.

| | More
04/12/2012 | Diana and Dale
Soooo jealous and thoroughly enjoying the blog. Thanks for taking us along on the journey!
Just pinch me!
04/11/2012, Puerto Ayora, Isla Santa Cruz

Even though it's all been such a rush since we got here getting checked in, getting to another island so we can meet our guest, getting the boat ready for our guest, getting the laundry in to be washed we're just so excited to be here and it all seems so charming -- I just can't believe we're actually in the Galapagos!

Terry hopped on a bus this morning to go to the airport to meet Joni and I went into town with the girls from Inspiration at Sea to take the laundry in, then after a brief stop at a Internet Cafe I headed out to the boat to turn the V-berth storage area into a guest room.

We plan to stay here a couple days to see some of the local sites including the Darwin Station, then we will move on to the big island of Isabela where we plan to stay until its time to bring Joni back here to the airport. We've been told by friends who traveled here by boat that that is the place to spend your time and from what I've read in the guidebooks it sounds wonderful..

It just keeps getting better and better.

| | More
04/12/2012 | jack
Have a wonderful time...keep the blogs coming..Tell Terry, while he is gallivating the Galapagos, I am working of our goes the local cruising life
Clearing into the Galapagos
04/10/2012, On our way to Isla Santa Cruz

The rules for private yachts entering the Galapagos seems to be in constant flux and what you might find as the requirements one year could be quite different the next. We've been reading about and planning this trip for sometime and we've even seen some changes since we first started learning about the process.

For the last few years it seems there are two main ways to see the islands if you arrive in private boat which are go get a permit ahead of time or just sail in. In both cases you now need an agent to handle all the check in procedures. If you just sail in agents will approach you and you can enlist their services for a fee and they will take you through the process of mucho paperwork to make you legal in the islands. The drawback to that approach is you are given a maximum of 20 days to remain in the islands and your boat has to stay in the port in which you made landfall. You can still visit other islands but it would be through arranged tours, which are plentiful.

We chose to get an agent in advance and apply for the permit -- or Autografo -- which allows you more time in the islands and the privilege to take your boat to more than 1 port -- usually 5 anchorages total. We applied for the maximum stay and were granted the full 60 days. We aren't sure yet if we have 4 or 5 islands because one of them may have been removed from the permitted 5. We will clarify that when we talk to our agent tomorrow. Even though we can only take our boat into those permitted anchorages, we too can explore other islands or other parts of the islands we go to on tours.

We secured our agent nearly 2 years ago as we first planned to sail to the Galapagos in 2011. I researched through sailing forums and blogs to get names of agents and I chose Ricardo Arenas as he had high recommendations and speaks English. It cost us $600 to enlist his services and the permit process was begun. We received our Autografo a few days before we left Mexico.

He is located on Isla Santa Cruz -- one of the other ports of entry, but our autografo asked that we clear in on San Cristobal and he has agents there to help with the arriving boats. Shortly after we dropped anchor yesterday one of the colorful water taxis came out to our boat with Carmela aboard who was our representative and she got the ball rolling and the check in process was begun. She returned about noon with a group of 5 young people who are the government officials from the navy, agriculture, customs etc. and we had a very nice visit (one girl spoke excellent English) while they filled out their paperwork and did a simple inspection of the boat and checked out our produce. 15 or 20 minutes later they were gone and we were told to meet Carmela at the pier at 3 and she would take us to the agencies to complete the clearing in.

At 3 we met a smiling Carmela who had all of us (the crew of Inspiration at Sea was with us) jump into a small pick up truck (which are their taxis) with the guys riding in the truck bed. It was a great scenic ride through the small charming town and out to the country side where the two offices were located. One was Immigration and the other the National Parks department. There she guided us through the paperwork and paying of the different fees, and after a couple hours we were done and went back to the waterfront where the diesel jugs that Vicky had filled for Inspiration were ready and waiting.

All told, the fees amounted to $379 -- $200 of which was for our $100 per person park passes which everyone is required to purchase when you enter the islands, so only $179 was for boat clearance and immigration fees.

We also received a zarpe, or departure paper, as we planned to leave Cristobal in the morning to head to Santa Cruz. We all enjoyed a celebration dinner in town before hoping on a water taxi and going back out to the boats after successfully, and enjoyably, clearing into the Galapagos. It was a very good day.

| | More
We have arrived!
04/09/2012, Puerto Baquerizo, San Cristobal, Galapagos

Dropped the anchor is the crowded anchorage known as Wreck Bay on San Cristobal Island !! We're in the Galapagos! We've hoisted our yellow quarantine flag to show we need to clear in and we've emailed a note to our agent so he can get someone out here to help us clear in to the country. Next couple days will be busy busy with cleaning up, doing laundry, getting fuel and preparing for our guest arriving on Wednesday -- then it will be off to explore!

| | More
04/09/2012 | jacx
congratulatons....what a great adventure, just beware of the galloping galapagos herbavors
jack and joan
04/10/2012 | Sue and Larry
Congratulations! Glad to hear that you are safe. What a milestone!!
Off to Puerto Ayora
04/09/2012, Puerto Baquerizo, San Cristobal, Galapagos

All checked in to the Galapagos! Now we're off to Isla Santa Cruz so we can meet where Joni will be flying in tomorrow.

| | More

The latest news ]  |  [ Older posts ]


The Cetus Crew
Who: Terry & Heidi Kotas and Street Cat Rosie
Port: Gig Harbor, WA
View Complete Profile »
Where in the world are Terry & Heidi?
Here are some of our photo albums....
21 January 2012
39 Photos
13 May 2009
93 Photos
SailBlogs Friends
THIRD DAY Pure Joy Scott Free Rick Eagle Happy Nest Zephyr Totem Inspiration at Sea Isabella (sold), now S/V Beachcomber (current) Sound Effect Kokomo Otter Mystic Island Landover Taya Andiamo III Tropical Soul Kia Ora 
ailblogswidget.swf" />

The Cruising Yacht SiteRing

Previous | List | Random | Join | Next

SiteRing by

Powered by SailBlogs

Site Meter