09 March 2012 | Anchored in Puerto Moreno off Cristobal, Galapagos
We dropped the hook off Cristobal in the Galapagos at 1500 local time (UTC-6) yesterday (Fri, 09MAR) after a beautiful 9 1/4 day passage from Panama City. We had a little excitement on the way in when the wind died 15 nm out from Cristobal and we wanted to start the engine. After doing its usual faithful start-up it shut off again 30 sec. later with all symptoms of getting no fuel. With the tank still more than half full we started investigating from the tank downstream for any blockage in the fuel system. Unfortunately, this requires complete excavation of the cockpit locker for access to the primary fuel filter and of the quarter berth for access to the tank - always a "fun" exercise... Luckily though, we found the culprit quickly in the pipe from the tank to the primary fuel filter, which was clogged with some gunk that probably came aboard with fuel we took on in Jamaice (the last stop where we fueled up directly from a pump). Just in case, we also changed both fuel filters and two hours little everything was running fine again. By that time also the wind had set in again and we got another two hours of nice close reach sailing. As soon as we had dropped the anchor, Bolivar approached us on a water taxi and offered his agent services. We had heard good things about him from other boats, so we agreed and an hour later he showed up again with five officals in tow (customs, immigration, agriculture and two more with an undefined portfolio for good measure). They all were nice, helpful and professional, and another hour later we were officially cleared into the Galapagos and allowed to go ashore. Thus we went for a dinner in town, which very nice if a bit more built up and developed than we had expected. Sea lions are abound everywhere, lazily hanging out on the benches in the local playground and lots of other places along the shore. We returned to Namani around 9pm local time, with just enough energy to happily sink into our bunks for a good night's sleep uninterrupted by the watch schedule. On this passage we sailed a total of just about 1000nm (including the initial 40nm hop to Las Parlas). We had 50 hours under engine, covering 232 nm of the 1000nm "under steam". The rest was absolutely delightful slow but steady sailing over calm seas. Very different from our passages before but certainly very enjoyable and relaxing. Now we will do a little bit of clean up on Namani, sort through a few hundred pictures and come up with a game plan for the 20 days we plan to stay here in the Galapagos. Bill will leave us on Monday to join Bonnie (flying in from LGA) on a Galapagos tour. Hopefully, we can have a little reunion with both of them on Namani after their tour. Stay tuned...
PS: Picture above shows the clearing-in procedure (one official all the way to the right didn't make onto the picture...)