Arrival in Galapagos

Published on 23 February 2024 at 17:51

We're in the Galapagos!


We arrived on Tuesday just before dark, and anchored in the harbour on San Cristobal. We were initially confined to the boat (couldn't even swim) until we cleared immigration, but it was still amazing with sea lions swimming all round the boat, and pelicans, boobies (yes they really are called that - part of the same family as gannets), frigate birds and much else besides


The immigration team came to our boat early the next morning- 15 of them in total!! As well as all the paperwork they did lots of physical checks - they dived to make sure the hull was clean (one of the other boats has failed, had to pay a big fine and go 60 miles offshore with a Galapagos diver for further cleaning) and checked all the food we had on board (loafs of restrictions on what we're not allowed, and much of the frozen food has been sealed), as well as checking all our detergents, soaps, suntan creams etc are all reef friendly, our rubbish recycling arrangements, and all discharges from the boat - no black water (poo!) allowed at all, nor any pumpout of bilges that may have oil in them and special measures needed to prevent engine oil leaks from reaching the sea etc etc etc. All very laudable and I would be fully in favour if the same standards were applied across the board and to all land infrastructure too, sadly not currently the case.


There is a very efficient water taxi service - we're not allowed to use our dinghy as the 2 stroke outboard is not permitted here, but in any case dinghies can't be left in the water as sealions would make a real mess of them!


There are sealions everywhere - all around the seafront, lying on benches throughout the town, wandering down the seafront streets (as well as a few iguanas). Generally very peaceful, and lovely to watch although one night 2 very aggressive ones did chase me right back down the jetty when I was trying to get to the water taxi - much to the amusement of the water taxi driver and everyone else waiting on it.


We've explored the highlands on the centre of the island and a giant tortoise conservation centre (where I learnt amongst other things that Galapagos is a spanish word for tortoise) as well as learning a lot more about the history of the Islands, the problems they have had in the past and the problems they now face. 


And we've done a lot of snorkelling which is amazing. Visibility near the shore is actually quite poor, as there is quite a lot of surf churning the bottom up, and there has been some torrential rain which brings a lot of run off from the land, but the snorkelling is still great.


I was snorkelling near some rocks at the side of a bay yesterday, watching a whole load of tropical fish, when a sunbathing sealion came into the water. He appeared out of the slightly murky water and swam straight towards me, giving me quite a fright. But he was just coming to investigate - he stopped with his nose just a couple of feet away from my mask, and then just put his body parallel to mine and lay there watching me, whilst blowing bubbles from his nose which was amazing - and I soon recovered from the initial shock! He disappeared and came back to see me and lie next to me twice more. Totally surreal. But sadly no photos


Hopefully more of the same for the next couple of days then we move on to Isabella, at the western side of the Galapagos - a casual 90 mile sail. I'd only sailed 90 miles in a single passage once before this trip, but it now feels almost trivial! We will have a few day before moving on to Santa Cruz, the busiest of the Galapagos Islands - then leave for the biggest passage of the whole trip, 3000 miles to the Marquesas islands. Quite a long way when we only sail at just over w¹alking pace!!


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Sarah Godfrey
4 months ago

We’ve loved catching up with your blog posts (rather belatedly as the moho Wi-Fi is patchy in Spain ) but fantastic to see that you’ve made it to the Galapagos - wonderful pics!
Good luck with the next leg!
Sarah & Marc xxx

Mark Kirby
4 months ago

Great post. Really taking us all along with you. Glad the sea lions like playing with you Amanda.

4 months ago

Glad you are enjoying Galapagos. Had similar experiences with Sea Lions, up until a huge grumpy looking male turned up next to me - I didn't like that so much! Saw on Tom and Jane's blog that you had seen mantas - very jealous of that !! Enjoy Isabella.

Ros Twite
4 months ago

This looks such an amazing adventure! So lovely to be able to share a little with this blog.

Kirsten Lillemoen
4 months ago

Great to catch up with your latest posts. LOVE the sea lions laying about everywhere and hearing about your close encounter xxx

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