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Little Green Boat
Spruce will soon be leaving New Zealand. We have had a wonderful time since arriving in October 2013 after sailing across the Pacific Ocean. In 2014 we shall visit Fiji, Vanu-Atu, New Caledonia and on to Australia.
The Best Anchorage?
Andy & Sue
12/Feb/2013

Until today the winds here in San Cristobal have always been very light or from the SSE to SW direction. The dark foreboding thunder clouds had been building through the late morning and shortly after lunch time they marshalled a force of wind and rain into action. The squall approached from the East-north-east, a dense white mist hurtling down the hillside towards the harbour. A hasty zip around the boat closing hatches and it was upon us. The several live aboard tour boats, some laid up, blew bodily across their anchors, no orchestrated slow swinging to chain for this change in wind direction. Quick action by the crew aboard one tour boat saved a German flagged cruiser from damage as their fast moving vessel bore down onto the deep keeled yacht, the timely insertion of a large inflatable tender followed by gunning engines into life and motoring clear saved the day. Like a significant number of cruisers who stay only for a short while these people have left their boat at anchor for a few days to go touring, however, this is not the steady every day the same, trade winds belt and localised thundery systems do develop. They are fortunate not to be returning to an injured boat and the difficulties of achieving repairs a long way from the required services.
Meanwhile, other dramas were unfolding. A supply ship moored offshore was being unloaded using its own derricks to place cargo on large raft-like craft propelled by 40hp outboards. The force of the blow was just too much for their ample windage when loaded. Another tour ship became the goal keeper as a cargo-raft blew under her shapely bow. As always with these incidents it only lasts 30-40 minutes, but long enough for chaos and havoc to reign supreme.

News & Updates
Spectacular Walk on the Wild Side
Andy & Sue
10/Feb/2013, San Cristobal - Galapagos

This morning our destination was to be La Loberia. A bay located on the South-west corner of the island leading to a shore trail; a distance of some two miles to walk each way. Grey skies thankfully helped to keep the equatorial sun at bay. As we departed from the town, onto a rough cinder track past the airport runway, a vista of scrubby foliage opened out. Fresh vivid green leaves sprouted from branches heralding newness after the dry season. It must have been terribly arid before the recent rains came, a barren volcanic desert with what must have looked like dead flora. Flowers, shoots and a general feeling of regeneration surrounds. A multitude of finches, made famous by Darwin's work, chirped loudly. Intense yellow warblers, more shy, peaked from within shrubs; flycatchers, less brightly coloured, hopped from twig to twig.

News & Updates
11/Feb/2013 | Keith and Welly
The photograph of the bird on the branch is amazing. Like in a book on wildlife. Presumably it was unafraid enough to let you get really close.
13/Feb/2013 | Sue & Andy Warman
Most of the wildlife here comes close and seems unafraid... evolution doesn't work so fast as the carnage done here during the whaling era, with crews foraging for food (seals, sea lions, tortoise, turtle), didn't give the more scaredy ones a genetic advantage :-)
10/Feb/2013

The cove lived up to its name, a large group, possibly 50-60, sea lions lay slumped across the black basaltic boulders. Some hauled well above the water's edge, others surging back and forth in the wash pouring into the bay across a porous barrier of rocks almost at sea level. A range of maturities: very young pups still nudging mother's underside for milk, one year olds remaining near adults for protection, mature adult males competing for territory. Occasionally a pup would be greeted with a snarl and baring of teeth if moving too close to the wrong mother's teats; there is no sentimentality in the game of survival in this brutal environment. These animals have recently bred and will spend a couple of months fattening up before heading for the ocean; it seems the slothful lounging around on beaches and digesting a full stomach is the low energy contrast to a night of bountiful fishing.

News & Updates
10/Feb/2013

Moving away from the sea mammals and Eastwards along the trail brought us to the real masters of these islands; the reptiles. Slow, efficient metabolisms compensate for the meagre diet of algae consumed by the Sea-Iguanas; also slumped across rocks and soaking the warmth from the hazy sunshine. These characters look like the cast from a Dr Who film. A blink from an eye, a squirt of salty liquid ejected is almost the greatest action seen, in spite of our proximity. Due to the cool currents flowing from the East these chaps lose large amounts of heat when chewing matter from rocks submerged, unlike mammals they do not generate vast quantities of internal warmth so rely on solar assistance. This tolerance for a low calorie and low water intake is believed to be why reptiles successfully made it to these islands on flotsam from South America, whereas mammals similarly cast adrift perished, before arriving.

News & Updates
10/Feb/2013

Continuing along the trail and we arrived atop low cliffs, perhaps 15 metres high; the kingdom of the marine avian inhabitants. Peeping over the edge pulled the nesting ledges into focus. Curious gazes from a variety of species peered back: Blue Footed Boobies stomping in their turquoise foot ware appeared little bothered by our interest; Shining red rings, around the eyes of the Swallow-Tailed-Gulls stared us out; Nazca Boobies suspiciously sized us up, looking through their caped crusader black masks; all the while huge Pelicans glided along the cliff edge between sporadic forays into the sea and sentinel Magnificent Frigate Birds soared high above. These raiders of the air eagerly watching for any opportunity to benefit from a piratical attack on an unwary cousin, forcing a hard won meal to be regurgitated for an easy feed.
To cap all those amazing visual stimuli the underwater scenery looks equally as tantalising. A quick dip, back at the cove with masks and fins, had us swimming beside three Green Turtles. One huge beast seems to have been traveling the oceans for many moons; calcite growth on his shell and legs was remarkable. A host of fishes swam past, unconcerned by our presence it was easy to view them: Hog Fish, Damsel Fish and a variety of Tangs we still need to identify.
A grand day out has left us absolutely buzzing with enthusiasm for our coming weeks exploring these islands' and their wildlife. Even though we suffered a complete soaking from heavy rain our excitement remains un-quenched.

News & Updates
Formalities Completed - We Have Officially Arrived!
09/Feb/2013, Puerto Baquerizo Moreno - Isla San Cristobal

All documentation completed! Our cheery agent returned our paperwork during the afternoon! We now have an Autografo (cruising permit) authorising us to be in Galapagos waters until the 22nd April, although we probably won't stay beyond the first week of April, there is a still lot more Pacific Ocean to be voyaged and many more islands to visit before the end of 2013...until then we hope to have a ball in these fantastic islands, amongst a plethora of remarkable creatures.

A short visit ashore yesterday leaves us marvelling at the amount of wildlife so close to human habitation. The animals just don't seem to fear people.

Photo: the locals monopolising the benches, seating room for tourists definitely limited. They do leave rather a whiff of fish everywhere they go.

News & Updates

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