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30 March 2015 - Academy Bay, Isla Santa Cruz - Galapagos


We left Wreck Bay and motored 42nm over to Academy Bay on 25 March. This brought us just a little closer to the Marquesas. Brian Alexander flew in from Thunder Bay to join us on 27 March. On arrival, we were greeted by a “black” marine iguana swimming by. These marine iguanas are apparently unique to these islands.




This is what his relatives look like, when on land.



Our initial observations are that the island of Santa Cruz is more touristic, a bit more commercial than San Cristobal, at least the waterfront is obviously so. 



The sea lions are better behaved, and far less aggressive. At least we don’t see them laying on park benches and growling at tourists! The local fishing boats in San Cristobal were “wrapped” with barbed wire, and the ones that weren’t always had at least a couple sea lions lounging onboard. Here in Santa Cruz, none of the local fleet have taken precautions to keep the sea lions out, they’re much better behaved. 


The dinghy dock is well attended, although we chose to leave our dinghy on the boat. Its easier for us and we can take a water taxi in or out for only $ 0.60 each way, unless its in the evening, when its a little more expensive. Its very convenient.



We spent one morning visiting the Charles Darwin Research Station. This is a view of their waterfront, and of their travel-lift, the only one we’ve seen so far in the Galapagos.




 


This Centre is busy with efforts to repopulate many of the Galapagos islands with tortoises and land iguanas. “Lonesome George”, the last of his kind, found alone on Pinta Island, was brought to this Centre in 1972. Efforts were made to breed more of his kind, but I think they were fruitless. Nonetheless, they are making headway at increasing the population of both land tortoises and land iguanas. 




 



 



 

Hey, did somebody lose a contact lens?



We had to look onshore for a replacement turnbuckle, to replace the tensioning arm for an alternator. Bodega Blanca is the “go-to” place here. It was very, very well outfitted and I can highly recommend it to others.



Another day, we took a taxi ride out into the countryside and were struck with the differences with San Cristobal. The island is much greener and has lots of trees.



One of our stops was the El Chaco 2 Ranch, where they provide a very natural environment for tortoises in the wild. Here, we discovered that tortoises like to eat passion fruit.



Brian is standing just behind this tortoise, to give an appreciation of the size.




These tortoises are enjoying the pond, together with a family of ducks.



Here, at the Visitor’s Centre, Brian tries on a real tortoise shell. They are surprisingly heavy, and include a large frame “bone backbone” inside. These are not plastic models.




 


All of the Galapagos islands are volcanic in origin. Due to erosion and the geological process, the top of the volcano eventually collapses, leaving a crater.



We also went into the underground lava tunnels, where we found mushrooms and green plants growing.




 



 



 


This is a Darwin Finch, native only to the Galapagos.



Also, I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to take a photo of this spider.



Around town, its hard to miss this ATV with an external body shaped like a tortoise shell. We’ve seen it around quite a bit. This one is fiberglass, not a real tortoise shell.



At the waterfront, a local ex-fisherman has established a display of his collected cigarette butts. He has produced two “manikins” displaying the positive environmental impact of his collection. He has also written a book about his experience as a ship-wrecked fisherman, and Diane is currently reading it.



I went for a swim off the boat yesterday with Brian. The water temperature is noticeably warmer than it was in San Cristobal and back in Panama City. I’d say about 10 degrees warmer. There is always something going on nearby, one of the water taxis tipped over while delivering a few hundred gallons of fresh water to SV Conversations. We saw eight other water taxis come to the rescue.



We took on 80 gallons of fuel, buying it directly from our agent. It was delivered and pumped into our boat for $ 4 per gallon, not a bad price, given the conditions.


This morning, just as we were boarding the water taxi and heading for shore, Brian lost his footing and fell in the water. No damage done, just his pride - and wet clothes. Oh, and there was no alcohol involved!



 

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SV Joana is listed for sale at this site (in case you're wondering why, we're not planning to give up the cruising lifestyle or our home, but most things are for sale and since we've met many cruisers who have listed their boat, we figured we'd do it too).


Countries Visited:         (Departed Canada: May 2009)
Antigua: May 2011
Bermuda: June - August 2009
Bonaire: February - April 2014
Bahamas: December 2009 - March 2010, December 2010 - February 2011
Barbados: March 2012
British Virgin Islands: May 2011
Colombia: Oct 2014 - 
Cuba: March - May 2010
Curaçao: May 2014 - September 2014
Dominica: May 2011, April 2013
Dominican Republic: March - April 2011
Galapagos: March 2015
Grenada: June-November 2011
Guadeloupe: March 2013
Martinique: March 2012, March 2013
Panama: December 2014 (San Blas Islands), January 2015
Puerto Rico: April 2011
St Lucia: May-June 2011, December 2011 - February 2012, December 2012 - February 2013
St Martin /Netherlands Antilles: May 2011
St Vincent and the Grenadines: June 2011, February 2012, December 2012, April-May 2013
Tobago: March-May 2012
Trinidad: May - December 2012, June - November 2013
USA: August - November 2009, June - November 2010
US Virgin Islands: May 2011
Venezuela: November 2013 - February 2014

 


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