Galapagos – Santa Cruz
16 April 2018
Photo: Galapagos Land Tortoise
Thursday 12th April, we motored out of Puerto Villamil at 06:15 and continued motoring until we had the anchor down in Academy Bay, Santa Cruz at 13:35. What a difference, the bay is very busy with commercial cruising boats, yachts, water taxis and small boats. We deployed the stern anchor to enable us to sit into the swell which enters the anchorage, most boats seem to have one out. Despite the swell the anchorage was quite comfortable.
Having completed the paperwork with our agent and organised with him to get fuel, it was time to go ashore and explore. Unlike San Christobal and Isabela, Santa Cruz was going to be more about getting the boat and ourselves ready for the Pacific crossing and not as much about the wildlife. The town is the busiest we have seen in the Galapagos, plenty of cafes, bars, souvenir shops and a reasonable supermarket that will allow us to restock with the staples.
For fresh produce, we were up bright and early on Saturday to go to the produce market a short taxi ride to the other side of town. The market was bigger than we were expecting, with plenty of stalls selling everything we wanted and more. We were finished and back on Dol at 07:00 for breakfast. Brian then did an oil change on the generator, changed the water pump and completed the engine checks. Saturday afternoon we were ashore again for a joint birthday party, Taj was 5yrs old and Hayley 12yrs old. Great fun with all the kids burning off excess energy followed by dinner ashore.
Sunday we walked to the Charles Darwin Research Centre. Again this was very well done and we are learning the subtle differences in the land tortoise shell and body shapes as they have evolved on the different Galapagos Islands with their differing terrains. Although we have seen many rock iguanas, for the first time we saw them swimming and coming out onto the rocks, awesome. The centre first began with research into the land tortoises, several species of which are now extinct, including the most famous of them, the Pinos land tortoise. The last surviving one, “Lonesome George” died at the centre in 2012, he had lived there for the last 40yrs of his life, but despite efforts to get him to breed with close relatives, did not father any offspring. He is preserved at the centre.
The Galapagos stop has been simply amazing, words do not do it justice, but our photos will live with us for years to come. We are really pleased we made the effort to stop here, a unique place with an abundance of wildlife without equal in the oceans of the world.
A reasonable weather window is opening for us and we have contacted our agent to get the exit papers organised for a Tuesday departure, 17th April. This will be the longest passage we have done, 3000nm across the Pacific to the Marquesas Islands and should take us approximately 21 days.