FANDANGO

Bodrum to Airlie Beach

30 November 2010
22 November 2010
22 November 2010
21 November 2010
13 October 2010
10 August 2010
02 June 2010
08 May 2010
24 March 2010
09 March 2010
17 February 2010
17 February 2010
17 February 2010

Galapagos Islands

02 June 2010
Well hello there

The small lava stone town of Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz has some good and some cheap restaurants and we tried many of them. There was a no dinghy policy so everyone used water taxis which worked well. The place was easy going and everyone friendly and helpful.

Frigate birds, pelicans and sea lions were everywhere. The latter will get on your boat if they can, so we tied fenders to our transom. One was even on my bench at our waterside restaurant! It was genuinely wild with serious teeth but after seeing that I meant no harm, it settled back and closed its eyes. Rays of various types can be seen in the murky harbour water as well as reef sharks. On one occasion I saw five spotted rays swimming in a pack on the surface. They say tiger and hammerhead sharks come in at dusk to feed, so I cleaned the hull and prop one morning.

Down by the very small fish market, pelicans and the odd Booby compete for scraps. Odd they certainly are because some have red feet, some blue and others are hooded in white feathers. We had already met a red footed one who had a lift with us one night and covered part of the folded bimini (to see the stars at night) with poo, leaving stains.

The first trip was to the Darwin Research centre. The giant tortoises, which were kept for breeding, barely moved and were fed on a sort of hay. Each island's tortoise had different shaped shells. Mankind had nearly wiped them all out. Some iguanas also laid about in the lava stone corals. The nearby black lava stone beaches had many red crabs and black crabs.

The next day Fab and Shirley went off to Isla Isabela for three nights. Edo and I stayed to keep an eye on the anchor and to see something of the island. On a ranch, we came across giant tortoises that moved and looked at you as they fed on lush grasses. One was said to be about a hundred years young, about fifty in our years. We ate wild passion fruit and then moved on to some volcanic sink holes and a lava tube. Farm livestock seemed to be in good condition. Unfortunately that didn't always translate into good meat at the restaurants. Most of the time we ate local prawns or fish including some excellent sashimi and sushi.

Movement in the islands was very restricted and you needed a guide to go anywhere. Soon it was our turn for Isla Isabela and a bouncy, ninety minute ride on a stink boat got us there. The roads were compacted sand, the accommodation basic and the tap water brackish and seriously contaminated. Many people got Galapagos Gut, which for some included water-borne parasites. Just as well there was plenty of cold beer.

Some snorkelling revealed green spiked sea urchins that I had not seen before. Later, it was decided not to do the five hour volcano crater tour because, whilst sunny on the beach, it was raining up in the hills. Anyway I have seen enough volcanos, active and dormant, in my lifetime. I was after the wildlife.

More snorkelling at another spot with six metre visibility turned up reef sharks and biggish wrasse. Swimming close to the khaki coloured rocks, I was surprised when one rose up in front of me. It was a big turtle and we both took action to avoid a collision and circled each other. Walking around the shore line we saw dragons (marine iguanas) wherever there was a rock. Up to a metre and a half and completely harmless. We didn't know that when confronted by six spitting big ones on a narrow path. They spit out salt water ingested when eating algae from the rocks, so we were told.

Heaps of birds and sea lions totally unfazed by our presence. One sea lion got out of the water, came over to meet us and posed for pictures. It kept coming closer and I am sure it wanted a scratch but we were not allowed to touch. Nearby another seal played with a fish which I suspected was too big for it to swallow. It moved it around in a pool, first picking it up in its mouth then tapping it around with its flippers. Next a pelican stood like a statue with wings outstretched catching the sun.

We met some fun people staying in the village. In fact there were very few tourists, so we were soon on nodding or drinking terms with most of them and a few of the locals. Needless to say, Edo and I never managed to get up very early during our stay.

A rough ride back to Puerto Ayora, just in time to join Fab & Shirley for a couple of dives on Gordon Rocks on the east coast of Santa Cruz. This is supposed to be a "world famous" site for hammerheads. Yes, some were seen or thought to have been seen by some of the divers. However, a few days earlier someone we met on Isabela advised us that he saw many hammerheads but the water was freezing and only six metres visibility. Despite the divemaster promising twenty five degrees Celsius, I put on my six millimetre hooded suit with a three mil under vest. Of course it really was twenty five degrees and the viz fifteen to twenty metres. Perhaps the sharks leave when the water gets warmer. I was warm but this old suit a bit tight. The rubber seemed to have shrunk with age. Just as well that I have a newer, thinner suit with me.

We've been here eleven days. More chores, another R & R day and then provisioning before heading off to cross the puddle for Hiva Oa, perhaps twenty one days away. There will be some atolls to check out over another week or ten days after that and before arriving at Papeete.
Vessel Name: Fandango
Vessel Make/Model: Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 39i (LOA 11.86m)
Hailing Port: Airlie Beach, Whitsundays (Registered Melbourne, Australia)
Crew: Andrew
About: See "Meet the Crew" in the Blog Locker
Extra: We like our grog but don't smoke.

Cockpit

Who: Andrew
Port: Airlie Beach, Whitsundays (Registered Melbourne, Australia)
There are more albums under Photo Gallery.Thank you to those who contributed photos.It was very hard deciding which ones of so many to show because of limited space available.