Monday, March 2, 2015

Galapagos – We Don’t Want Your Kind Here

Stashed his trash in Ecuador, bought new suit of clothes…
J. Buffet 
This is the voyage of the Beagle when Charles Darwin was aboard as they passed through the Galapagos (September, 1835). We’ve now been in the Galapagos almost as long as Darwin was and I’m feeling like I should come up with an earth shattering  theory or two. I haven’t, but it actually took Darwin another 25 years after his visit before he published his theory of evolution. So I guess I have some time.
grace-exterior9 With all the restrictions and costs put on private cruising boats coming through the Galapagos, it is pretty clear they don’t really want us here. The real way to see the Galapagos would be on small ship like m/v Grace above. It is beautiful classic that was the honeymoon ship for Grace Kelly of Monaco. It takes 18 just passengers and it would cost you about $5,800 for an 8-day passage – but I bet you wouldn’t forget it.
Yesterday a German flagged boat came through here. They did not get an Autografo (entry papers for Ecuador) before they arrived, so they were at the mercy of the Port Captain. I told them they needed to contact an agent before doing anything else but they decided to go ashore. Meanwhile the quarantine health officer and someone from the Port Captain’s office came out to the boat. They were not onboard and the next morning they left for the Marquesas having been denied entry here. It seems they were booted out because they had the Galapagos on their Zarpe (check out papers from the last country which states where you’re headed next) but had not applied for the Autografo. It may have been their own fault for nor following the basic rules. But the rules here are not always clear and even if you follow the rules, there are so many restrictions put on a cruising boat that you don’t run into in other places. It’s a tricky one.
villemilP2280098 A local resident, a Sally-light Foot crab
We are getting now ready to make our next hop, westward across the Pacific. This time to Easter Island, also known as Rapa Nui. It is about 2,000 miles South and West of here. Although Easter is part of Chile now, it is historically a Polynesian island. The island lies about 2,000 off the Chilean coast. It is a pretty remote place that offers cruising boats like ours only a few difficult open-roadstead anchorages. Our plan is to leave on Tuesday morning - sail as much South as possible, trying not to go West, at least for the first 600 miles or so. Then we’ll check the weather faxes and decide when to turn right and point straight at Easter. Right now there is a wind hole below Galapagos that doesn’t show any signs of leaving. This means we will probably have to motor on and off through the first 180 miles or so – we’ll see. We are expecting about 16-17 day trip, or so.
We were following the blog of a sail boat that left the Galapagos a day before we came to Isabela on their way to Easter Island, Sundancer. They had a very slow first 6 days. I just checked their position and it turns out that after 8 days or so, they decided to turn around and sail back north to Mexico. Apparently they are going to Mexico to do some repairs.
I got another article published in Blue Water Sailing March 2015 issue:
The Cruiser’s Scavenger Hunt How to successfully navigate the clearing in and out process as you cruise, and the valuable cultural experiences that make it worth the effort


  1. Bon Voyage and good sailing!

  2. Bon Voyage! Happy trails, buckaroos.

  3. We've enjoyed reading your blog and visiting everywhere vicariously. We hope to get there someday but we're pretty sure we won't be spending $5800 as tempting as that sounds.