Sta. Cruz, Galapagos
07 April 2012
Awoke to the sight of land in the distance. Motored through out the night. Little wind and on the nose. Anxious now to get there before night fall. A baby red footed booby sat on the front rail all night, until early dawn, catching a ride. Later 3 gulls landed on the roof, happy to take a break from beating into the wind back to Galapagos. One even decided he preferred to prop himself on JJ’s head!!! Great moment.!
Arrived to Sta. Cruz around 15:30, anchored and radioed in a water taxi, which is the only way to get ashore. No dinghy docks. Good system. We were informed that in order to buy fuel, one must get a permit from the port captain. HE in turn informs us that in order to get this permit it must be done via an agent. There are 4 here. Shall I call one up? Yes, the cheapest please. Young chap arrives and begins the long well rehearsed explanation of the different options that lay ahead of us. Though he spoke English he chose to stick to Spanish. Now before we fill in the formalities the port captain must visit your boat, to check the tanks, water, papers, blah blah blah, and how much tonnage are you? O.K. so that will cost $180 for him. Than I, the agent will have to fill in this and that paper, to request the fuel, and you will be charged the international price which is $7.10 pr. gallon!! $4.10 in Panama. And my fee for doing all this is $180, you know there is a lot of running around, its also Easter, and people charge double time, and the fuel service station is only open until midday. I will be going here and there, and I am going to have to expedite this as quick as possible, running all the time!
Well, when I translated all this to JJ, he picked up immediately that it was high way robbery, a total scam, and said forget it. We go with out your fuel thank you. And we all walked off. I think they were quite shocked that we saw through their scheme, and denied there ripped off service! Though we were instructed by the uniformed port official, he who was collaborating with the agent, that if we left immediately we would be o.k., we decided to stay the night.
Later that evening Shy and JD went ashore, and found out some scoop, how all the agents are from one family, and they control the whole fuel and port situation!! We set the alarm for 5:00 and left for the neighboring island, San Cristobal where we were told that purchasing fuel was a lot easier and friendlier.
JD came back with a couple of bags of fruit and veg. a few onions, 1kg. tomatoes, some cucumbers, peppers and radishes, apples, lemons, a few pear’s, tomatillos and a couple of avocados, all costing $75!