Tales of Enchantment

also known as "Michelle and Vern's Excellent Adventure"

12 January 2016
27 December 2015
15 September 2015
25 June 2015
26 March 2014
09 November 2013
16 August 2013 | The Society Islands
20 June 2013 | The Tuomotu's aka The Dangerous Archipelago
26 May 2013 | Marquesas
25 April 2013
23 April 2013
15 December 2012 | Panama Canal, Central America
16 October 2012
26 June 2012
28 April 2012
28 April 2012
19 February 2012 | The Bay Islands

The Galapagos

25 April 2013
After 1000 miles and 7 days at sea we reached the Galapagos, population about 22,000. Owned by Ecuador, the islands were the inspiration for Charles Darwin's theories of evolution. Many birds, plants, and all of the reptiles are exclusive to these islands. Of the dozen or so islands only a few are inhabited. The whole group is considered a national park and cruisers are restricted to 3 or 4 different ports to anchor in. If you just show up you are limited to 21 days and cannot go to another island with your boat. If you plan ahead and use an agent you can pay for a permit to visit 2 or possibly 3 other islands and stay up to 60 days. It is all very regulated and they do check and will tell you to leave if you break the rules.

Our first port of call was Wreck Bay on the island of San Cristobal, population 2500. The first thing you notice are the hordes of sea lions, they are every where, and unafraid of people. The second is the large fleet of live aboard dive boats that converge on the island. The cold Humboldt Current brings nutrient rich water to these islands, and along with that a myriad of marine life. Two species of sea lions, a small population of fur seals, many species of sea turtles, sperm whales, killer whales, manta rays, many species of sharks, the worlds second smallest penguin, marine iguanas, and huge schools of fish. Even though water temperatures are in the sixties diving is a big industry due to the abundance and variety of life. There have never been a shark attack here and they attribute it to the fact that there is such a rich supply of prey the sharks don't need to eat us funny looking creatures. One guide said all Galapagos sharks are vegetarian but I am doubtful.

The people are very friendly, the town neat and clean, and you can get a good dinner for $8, lunch for $3 or $4 if you eat where the locals do. We spent 2 weeks here hiking the trails, snorkeling among the sea turtles and sea lions, and enjoying the scenery.

Our next stop was Puerto Ayoro, also called Academy Bay, on the island of Santa Cruz. Puerto Ayoro is the largest city in the Galapagos, population about 10,000 and the most touristy. Which also means the best shopping foe food or supplies. Cruising in these remote areas you soon learn to look in every store to see what they may be selling, as they may carry anything. A local pet & feed store in the front also sold building supplies, tools, toys, fabrics, and house wares in the back. There are almost as many "tour operators" as tourists. At least two on every short block so deals can be made. We took a few all day tours at inexpensive prices and learned a lot from our guides about the land and the people. There are quite a few paved trails starting in town to various beaches and scenic spots.

Our last port of call was Villamil on Isla Isabella, largest and youngest of the Galapagos and the least populated, about 1200 people. No paved roads in town, limited shopping, and very friendly people. This is what you expect to see when you think about the Galapagos. Not a lot of tourists come here to stay on the island, mostly back packers and cruisers. There are lots of things to see and do here and can be very reasonably priced. We toured volcanoes, marine iguana nesting grounds, farms in the highlands, an old prison, tortoise reserves, a rodeo, a 3 day festival with a horse race down the middle of town. All the restaurants sell a lunch special for $3 or $4, usually consisting of a soup, small salad, meat or fish, rice, and a fruit drink. We had had a delicious lunch at Aloha Mary's of fish and the other things so we went back a few days later and ordered lunch again. The soup had some kind of meat? we could not identify and the main dish also had a meat we could not identify not found very tasty. A local we had befriended came in for lunch and educated us. He said "we in Isabella are organ eaters". The main dish was cow stomach, and the soup was made with either a cow or a goat hoof. After that we asked what was for lunch!!

Being islands everything gets shipped in by cargo ships from the mainland. None of the ports had commercial docks or water deep enough for them to get close. The ships anchor out a quarter mile or so and all cargo is loaded onto small barges or boats and brought to shore, where it is off loaded by hand or small cranes. You will see everything from food to building supplies, furniture, appliances, and even mall cars and trucks . It's very interesting to watch. Gasoline and diesel fuel are also transported this way and they are subsidized by the government. Locals pay just over a dollar for fuel, cruisers pay from $4 to $6 depending on where you are.

The islanders are also very environmentally aware and recycling is practiced every where. They try to ship out as much recyclable material as possible back to the mainland. All public garbage cans are marked for what goes in them and we rarely saw any litter. We met a couple along one trail that was on Isabella on business. The government was planning to put up a huge solar power array that would cover over two acres of land and be able to power the whole town. There would also be a back up generator that would run on bio diesel fuel, that is made of recycled cooking greases, oils, etc.

We enjoyed our 7 week stay in the Galapagos very much but it was time to move on to French Polynesia. Hope you enjoy the photos.


Comments
Vessel Name: Enchantment
Vessel Make/Model: Island Packet 40
Hailing Port: Chicago
Crew: Vern & Michelle
About:
Vern, originally from Chicago, has lived in New Orleans and the Nashville, Tn area. I have been sailing for almost 40 years, have logged over 15,000 offshore miles and hold a 100 ton masters license. I also work as a critical care nurse. [...]
Extra: We are currently finishing with upgrades and improvements to Enchantment in preparation for a 3-4 year cruise from Baltimore to New Zealand. Our cruising kitty will be fully funded and our departure date is set for Oct 2010 with a transit of the Panama Canal late February 2011
Enchantment's Photos - Main
84 Photos
Created 19 December 2016
A small sample of all the wonderful things to see and do in China
99 Photos
Created 19 December 2016
More than you ever wanted to know.
3 Photos
Created 21 June 2016
56 Photos
Created 21 June 2016
51 Photos
Created 21 June 2016
32 Photos
Created 21 June 2016
Just a few pix from Singapore
32 Photos
Created 27 December 2015
65 Photos
Created 10 December 2015
Photo's roughly follow our passage from E to W in Indonesia. We are currently about half way across the Southern island group. 300 miles East of Bali
83 Photos
Created 15 September 2015
37 Photos
Created 25 June 2015
The Fijians have a reputation as one of the friendliest people on the planet....we believe it
115 Photos
Created 13 March 2015
50 Photos
Created 26 March 2014
50 Photos
Created 26 March 2014
24 Photos
Created 9 November 2013
68 Photos
Created 16 August 2013
54 Photos
Created 20 June 2013
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Created 26 May 2013
67 Photos
Created 25 April 2013
49 Photos
Created 23 April 2013
We volunteered to be line handlers on a friend's boat to transit the Canal. Each boat requires 4 handlers plus captain and a paid Canal advisor. It is a great way to see what to expect for your own transit
43 Photos
Created 15 December 2012
Photos from another world, also called The San Blas
46 Photos
Created 16 October 2012
46 Photos
Created 26 June 2012
26 Photos
Created 26 June 2012
Providencia, a real jewel of a destination.
31 Photos
Created 28 April 2012
28 Photos
Created 28 April 2012
25 Photos
Created 14 February 2012
Photo's of some the reefs and critters found in Roatan, Honduras
31 Photos
Created 14 February 2012
44 Photos
Created 28 November 2011
You can see by these photo's the living conditions in the orphanage. Most buildings are built on pilings for when the river rises as well as the torrential downpours during rainy season.
45 Photos
Created 9 October 2011
Guatemala Independence Day party on the Rio Dulce
13 Photos
Created 9 October 2011
30 Photos
Created 15 September 2011
20 Photos
Created 15 September 2011
Random assortment of pictures from the Western Highlands, where volcanoes and traditional customs predominate
1 Photo | 3 Sub-Albums
Created 8 August 2011
A variety of churches and colonial building we saw. Way too many to post photo's of them all
44 Photos
Created 8 August 2011
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Created 8 August 2011
31 Photos
Created 8 August 2011
I wish our camera did justice to the splendor of the reefs and marine life in Belize.
15 Photos
Created 29 May 2011
Belize is rich with Mayan ruins and artifacts. There are still may pure blood Mayans left in Central America, mostly living inland.
28 Photos
Created 29 May 2011
Collection of photo's from along the coastal area
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Created 29 May 2011
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Created 29 May 2011
Georgetown to Long Island
33 Photos
Created 15 March 2011
43 Photos
Created 25 February 2011
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Created 19 January 2011
10 Photos
Created 18 December 2010
One of the hardest things about a leaving are the freinds you have to leave behind. In the 5 1/2 years we were in Baltimore we made many friends that we will miss. Our jobs at Harbor Hospital, Hopkins Bayview, and Sitel were some of the best we have ever had and we feel fortunate to have met and worked with the people we did.
20 Photos
Created 4 November 2010
A ton of "stuff" was brought on board over the last few months.
8 Photos
Created 28 September 2010
This year about 75 boats arrived for the event. The Thursday night before it starts most of the early arrivals get together on a tiny island for pot luck, drinks, and socializing. We have met many of the couples before and at least half of them are going South for the winter, mostly to the Bahamas. For many this is a first trip outside the US. Over the weekend they have many guest lectures, short seminars, marine flea market, some free breakfasts, some catered meals, cocktail party's by various SSCA supporters, and lots of sea stories to be shared.
9 Photos
Created 28 September 2010
Our last winter, 2 major blizzards in one week.
10 Photos
Created 15 February 2010