I was a little surprised how green was the island after all I had read. Plenty of trees and vegetation, but then I suppose it was the rainy season.
First thing after anchoring was a dive over the side to check the bottom of Sea Bear, it had accumulated a crop of goose barnacles so those were scrapped off. A big boxy fish (puffer fish) came along to help, tugging them off and eating them.
Formalities took some time to complete, it all has to be done through an agent . At one time there were 6 official aboard plus a diver inspecting the hull. It was all very friendly though and no problems although expensive, I just had to be fumigated in the morning. For that I had to be off the ship for 3 hours so I explored the town, watched the sea lions, swam at the beach and found a nice restaraunt for a 4$ fish meal.
Subsequent days saw me walk to the beach and Lobelia for my first sight of marine iguanas, more sea lions of course, this place is ruled by sea lions. Birds including the famed finches, a lava heron, white checked pintails, oystercatcher, a plover and of course plenty of pelicans and frigate birds.
Another day I took the bus (they only run on a Sunday) across the island passing through the farming area of El Progresso to La Galapaguera, a breeding project for giant tortoises a walk around here and then on to Puerto Chino, the end of the road and a walk to another lovely beach. No sign of a bus back so after a long wait I rode back in the back of a pickup truck which is what all the taxis here are.
Boat maintainance carries on, this time it is major re-stitch of the seams of the spray hood where the stitching has either frayed through or rotted by sunlight and sea air. Its hard awkward work.
There is only the one road so some days later I rode my bike up past the highest point, Cerro San Joaquin (896m) to El Junco where I walked up to see the crater lake. That was some hard ride but much easier freewheeling back downhill. I got soaked in a downpour but you don’t get cold here near the equator so it barely matters.
Leaving Sea Bear at anchor I took a launcha (fast motorboat with 3 big outboard engines that do the 40 nm trip in about 2 hours) over to Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz to meet up with my son Ged who flown into the Galapagos. We visited the Darwin centre and walked to Turtle bay then managed to arrange a few days on a tourist boat. This was very good indeed, food superb and the wildlife guide very knowledgable and informative. We visited giant tortoises in the highlands of Santa Cruz then the boat took us overnight to island of Espanola where we walked ashore on Gardner bay for sea lions and marine iguanas, snorkeled in the bay seeing turtles. On then to Punta Suarez for a walk across the peninsular though marine iguana breeding sites and masked booby colonies.
Even though it was a little early in the season we were lucky to see one waved Albatross.
One of the features of the Galapagos is the fearless nature of all the wildlife meaning that you can approach really close which is very special. Here we also saw the Galapagos hawk.
Next was island of Santa Fe for the cactus trees and land iguanas found only on this island. Then to South Plaza, a different type of landscape, a different type of iguanas plus nesting on the cliffs, swallow tail gulls, blue footed boobies and Audubon’s shearwaters. Throughout there were frigate birds , tropic birds, finches, mockingbirds and Galapagos doves.
Tour finished we bussed over Santa Cruz to Puerto Ayora and Ged and I returned by launcha to San Cristobal to rejoin Sea Bear.
We had a fabulous snorkel in a rocky cove underneath Cerro Tijeretas with big schools of fish, many brightly coloured big fish and with sea lions swimming really close to you.
But my time in the Galapagos is up, it has been fabulous, but now its time to arrange my zarpe, clear immigration, stock up with water, veg, fruit and bread and head on out for the Marquesas. They are about 3,000 mile away so 30 days or more.