The good, the bad & the ugly
08 April 2012 | Santa Cruz, Galapagos
Halleluiah! Two days ago, we finally left San Cristobal & motorsailed 44 miles to Santa Cruz, Galapagos. It is the tourist center, the largest settled island and another hub for cruising boats. Sailing among the islands is really picturesque, and we saw a manta ray on the way over. It felt so good to be underway again. We also snagged a tuna when we were about mid-way, but it got off. Bummer! This is becoming a pattern!
On our last day in Wreck Bay, we joined 2 other boats for a day of bike riding back up into the highlands. They hadn't visited the tortoises or beautiful El Chino beach yet and we'd only been once so we were fine seeing that again and covering the distance on bikes. We all piled into a cab truck that took us to the highest point of the island to the freshwater lake that Jon & I biked to previously, then we worked our way all the way down to the other side of the island to the beach. Then we biked all the way back up to the top, then back down into town. It was really nice to get to know Phil & Jen on Sea Monkey and Carl & Cristina on Bamboleiro & to get a good workout at the same time.
When we arrived at Academy Bay, we tucked in as far west into the harbor as we could to get out of the swell (hoping to actually get some sleep for a change). The last day in Wreck Bay, we came home to a new creak in the galley where a grab post is mounted between the ceiling & the counter top. The glue has come loose from all the intense rocking recently and the fact that our boat is getting on in years I guess. Anyway, there is now play in the post & the noise from that slight movement is annoying and needs to be fixed. But we'll need a quiet anchorage to allow the glue to dry properly.
We anchored close to friends we met in Panama on Gudrun & we put out a stern anchor to hold us into the swell. Everything seemed pretty good and for once the boat wasn't rocking. It was a full moon though, so the tides would be extreme; it was on it's way out. We were watching the depth to see how much water we still had under the keel. We sat in the cockpit and caught up with Axel on Gudrun while his wife Liz was ashore. At sunset, he went back to his boat and we were cleaning things up on deck when we noticed he was messing with his anchor. Jon called over to see if he needed help & he said he did- from this point on everything got really ugly & became a blur. Basically, a long story short is that he noticed the astronomical low tide coupled with the angle of wind & the swell had put him into less water than he wanted to be in but when he went to move the anchor, it was caught in the rock rubble on the bottom. The swell was moving him fore & aft and the tide was rushing out. He couldn't motor forward or back without bumping rocks. Nothing Jon could do with our dinghy at that point made a difference. I called for help and suddenly the navy, port captain, all the water taxi's and other cruisers were out to help. In the end, there was nothing to do but hover & wait it out until around 1030p, when the tide had come in enough to pull him off. In the midst of it all, we moved Evergreen, in the dark, to be on the safe side. It was a sickening 4 hours watching Gudrun rolling and crashing and everyone felt so helpless & heartsick. But, it is aluminum and for this reason, the damage is manageable & they can keep cruising. The response from the local officials was so prompt and concerned and overall, we have such a good feeling about the people in the Galapagos. They seem so happy, peaceful and helpful.
So yesterday, we were pretty tired physically & emotionally. We took a nice walk in town, went to the Darwin tortoise museum, scoped out the dive shops since we'd like to do some scuba here and bought a chicken in preparation for Easter dinner (they just didn't have any Easter hams here!) and then we helped Axel & Liz recover their anchor from the night before. We cleaned our waterline which has become a full time job recently since the growth is pretty intense here. Then we went out with Gudrun for the best dinner we've had this whole trip! Today, we're headed to Tortuga Bay, a popular beach with a pretty trail & hopefully great swimming. It is HOT, HOT here!
By now, all the kids back in the US are high on sugar from their Easter baskets but we have no chocolate bunnies here! Boo hoo! But we're so glad to have been able to move over here to a fresh spot to explore and so far, the boat seems happier in this anchorage. We really like Academy Bay! When I get a chance, I'll tell you more about what it's like here. Happy Easter!