Fiu in Adriatic
Galapagos, Santa Cruz, July 13 to July 22, 2004
Finally at 10.30pm we had entered the Puerto Ayora bay and anchored in the dark amongst all the other boats. This anchorage is exposed to the southerly winds and swells and is exceedingly rolly.
Santa Cruz turns out to be a welcoming small township with very friendly people who quickly get to to know us and the boat and who greet us in the morning as we walk down the street with a cheerful ‘Bueno Diaz’. Over the coming days we pick up the necessary basic Spanish words that enable us to get around with relative ease.
We all went to the Darwin research centre in Santa Cruz to see iguanas and the giant turtles and to the interior of the island to see lava tunnels and the turtles "in the wild". Lesley and Peter went on several day trips to swim with sea lions, tortoises and sharks and see the bird colonies.
As always we were on the lookout for food and were lucky during our inland trip that our guide Bianca's family have a banana plantation so we went there and could chose which banana stem we wanted. This means that the banana tree has to be felled with a machete - which Ivo, to everyone's surprise, managed to do in one strong cut! Another hidden talent as superman? On our way back we also stopped and picked loads of grapefruit from a tree by the roadside. The best and juiciest grapefruit yet. Santa Cruz which we thought to be devoid of fruit and vegetables is far the best we have found yet, much better than Venezuela or Panama.
This is where Lesley and Peter leave us after respectively 4 and 7 weeks onboard. A lot of sailing, a lot of adventures which was always made enjoyable and easier by the fact that we were four to share this journey.
Monday July 19 thru Thursday July 22, 2004
These next few days were spent preparing and updating the website and finalizing additional provisioning required for our long trip (over 3000 miles) to the Marquesa islands.
The weather is consistently overcast, cold and rainy so no real incentive to be outside and explore our surroundings. The anchorage in Puerto Ayora, Isla Santa Cruz, turns out to be the worst ever for both Ivo and I. We must have resigned ourselves to the appalling rolling conditions because we actually spent in total 10 days here! These rough conditions are very tiring and even dangerous when it is required to enter or exit the water taxi or our dinghy. The harbour has no proper dock so all refueling and water must take place using small boats who ferry this out to the boat at anchor. Dive boats, cruise boats, yachts, research vessels all come to Santa Cruz and have to anchor in these conditions. At night sometimes there must have been 100-150 boats here, amazing that no dragging or collisions happened as far as we could see (we anchored at about 6-8 m of water and using 50 m of chain, enough to keep Fiu steady).
One morning at breakfast as we slowly emerge from yet another tiring night at this anchorage, we suddenly realise that the dinghy has gone walkabout! What the… where is it? Could someone possibly have taken it? Why would they do that, it certainly is not the kind of place where dinghies are used by the locals, the seas are much too rough and they all have big sturdy wooden or fiberglass boats. So, could the dinghy have got itself untied? But it is always Ivo who ties up the dinghy, Susan’s knots are impossibly complicated and take forever to untie so Ivo is in charge of knot tying, so to speak. We hail a watertaxi and Ivo goes with the fellow in toward the beach and the mangroves about 500 meters off our stern. Susan meanwhile has her eye on a dinghy in the distance that looks like it is adrift and is trying to decide whether is really is so and therefore go and rescue it, or whether it is just a bit of wishful thinking and poor eyesight!.
Thankfully, within the next half hour, the watertaxi comes back and informs me that the dinghy was found tied up in someone’s private dock after he had found it stuck in the mangrove.
Naughty dinghy !! What a scare for us. It looked quite satisfied with itself, having had a little adventure obviously, fed up being tied to the stern of Fiu in such a rough and rolly anchorage. It had managed to untie itself despite Ivo’s careful knots!
A few days earlier the hose pipe between the outboard engine and the gasoline tank was stolen while the dinghy was left at the dock– there must be a shortage of these hoses here in Puerto Ayora. We now only use the small outboard tank rather than the separate gasoline tank.
It is also here in Puerto Ayora that we met Katharsis – another yacht on its way to Marquesa and then Tahiti. Owner Mariusz and his four friends are Polish - planning to sail in the South Pacific waters another year or so.
Despite the dreadful anchoring conditions, Puerto Ayora is a nice and friendly place – we enjoyed the village feel and felt quite at home after the 10 days stay. Our Spanish is rapidly improving, already know many local people and we could now find our way about nearly as good as a local…
On 22 July we eventually check out – after some fuss from the harbour master about the actual tonnage of Fiu – Ivo had to drag out certificates and documents in order to prove the 10,5 tonnage of the boat so that we would not get charged more for our stay.
Next: Isla Isabella