San Cristobal Island, Galapagos
are a special time of day while at sea. This sunset we enjoyed on the
passage from Panama to the Galapagos.
we entered the Galapagos Islands Scott raised the Ecuadorian courtesy
flag and the quarantine (or "Q") flag. The "Q" flag (which is just a
plain yellow flag) will remain up until we complete the check-in
procedures for each country we visit. In most countries this could be a
few hours or up to a day.
footed boobies (right) were just hanging out next to our anchorage. One of the
sights I was looking forward to was this blue footed booby and so I was
amazed to see them right next to our anchorage. Scientific name: sula
right on the sand were the Galapagos fur seal! Scientific name:
arctocephalus galapagoensis. None of the animals were
afraid of humans!
seaside scene is complete without pelicans! Scientific name:
anchorage alone in San Cristobal was very interesting. These little
birds were catching insects on the water next to our boat. I believe
they are the white vented, or Elliot's Storm-Petrel (left) I think they catch your attention because they seem to
dance on the water. Scientific name: oceanites gracilis.
being on the boat for a couple of weeks we definitely had a need to get
laundry done. San Cristobal is the only island of the Galapagos with its
own fresh water source, so we had an opportunity to get laundry done for
very little money. Even though we have our own washer and dryer if we
can get our laundry done for the right price we'll have it done on land
(for one thing their dryers work better than ours).
hiked up to a large crater called "El Junco." (left) This crater holds the
fresh water for the island of San Cristobal. Because of this there is
farming and a sustainable population on this island. Here is Mel telling
a tall tale to our guide. The birds in the background are frigate birds.
They come up here to the fresh water to get the salt out of their
our walk around El Junko we saw many wild raspberries. (right) It might seem
like a good idea to have these delicious berries in this location, but
they have created huge piles of brambles - worse than what we see in
northern America. These are but one of the introduced species that has
gotten out of control in the Galapagos. Local schools have worked hard
at reestablishing native plants. One of these is the miconia plants that
have been planted around El Junko.
beautiful blooms are from a Galapagos cotton tree. This cotton tree is
not a commercially viable source of cotton. We saw similar plants with
their beautiful flowers in French Polynesia. They would fall from the
tree and be covering the ground and floating in the water.
tortoise preserve on San Cristobal is called Cerro Colorado. When you
visit these preserves you must be careful where you step. They do not
want you bringing harmful microbes from your shoes into this facility.
This guy is eating bananas. (right) There is a great need to breed and increase
the land tortoise population. The eggs and baby tortoises cannot survive
on their own in the wild. Rats, goats and horses are some of the
introduced species that have contributed to the demise of these great
animals. Scientific name: geochelome elephantopus.
only are there breeding programs on the islands... But eggs and babies
are gathered from the wild whenever they are found. They must be
protected until they can survive in the wild. That requires several
years of protection and growth. The programs have increased local
sea iguanas (right) were incredibly large on San Cristobal. As you see, we could
get up really close to this guy! These iguanas are vegetarians. They
swim in the ocean and eat sea weed.
visit to the Galapagos is complete without some attention to finches and
other small birds. (left) These guys were hopping around and catching flies and bugs!
This small insect eating bird is called a yellow warbler (dendroica
petechia) and has a sharp
our tour we went to our guide's house for a late lunch. (right) Their outdoor
cooking and eating area included an area for washing hands and dishes.
were other people eating lunch here - like a private restaurant. So,
here's Michael and Michelle (left) in the foreground and a few local officials
at another table. The food was good!
we got back to the boat we had some uninvited visitors. (right) These home
invaders were not easy to expel. They seem to think that they had some
right to stay on our boat.
went out to this incredible formation (named Kicker Rock) to see the sights and snorkel. I
didn't know that the program included swimming with the sharks!!! I was
just swimming around, looked down and saw the sharks! I thought: "Jean,
now I know you've lost your mind!" The sharks were white-tipped reef
sharks and Galapagos sharks. There were lots of them, which didn't
thrill me either. We also saw rays, many corals and large schools of
many varieties of fish.
were lots of masked boobies (called nazca booby) and other birds flying
around. Scientific name: sula dactylatra (right)
unusual wing position (left)is a ventilating position. The bird in the middle
is trying to cool off.
think these are brown noddy (anous stolidus), but if you can I.D. them better please let me
know! I just thought they were neat looking! (right)
visited a nearby cove and found this strange creature in the water with
the California sea lions. Oh, my gosh!!! It's our captain! They seemed pretty happy
to have company. Here's Scott swimming and frolicking with them.
home to Quest along the shore we saw this male frigate bird. The males
build a nest and have this red display to attract the females. It
doesn't seem like a bad idea!
you need to get diesel on your boat it must be brought aboard in jugs.
Since we had 2,900 miles to get to the Gambiers we needed to be sure we
were going to get there in a reasonable time period. Michael and
Michelle had plane tickets from the Gambiers and we hoped they could
spend some time seeing that marvelous area as well as the Galapagos.
eight days out we needed to replace one of our jib sheets. We really
couldn't wait for the Gambiers before we replaced it. The only way to do
it is to go up the forestay - so, there's Jean! It was fairly calm, but
there's still a lot of movement as you get up off the water and start
night the weather became threatening again. Makes for a pretty sunset
though! We experienced a lot of this kind of weather on our trip to the
Gambiers. It's called "robust." We saw a lot of squalls in the distance.
We had winds in the mid twenties and into the thirties, but we really
didn't get slammed, so we were pretty happy with the trip. We traveled
about 3,000nm and it took us 18 days. As I said Michael and Michelle