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Galapagos

Posted: Wed 5th March 2008 in Pilotage
Position: 0° 0' S, 90° 0' W

Paying through the nose is the order of the day in the Galapagos.

Seals
Seals on a boat in puerto Ayora

Most people will make landfall at Puerto Ayora, in Santa Cruz. This is a delightfully crowded anchorage, with poor holding and rolly. We arrived at 4am. Wondering why we were anchored facing the opposite direction to the rest of the anchorage. Almost every one had a stern anchor pointing them out ot sea and into the swell. Which we then copied. There's no where to leave your dinghy. However the water taxis are friendly, efficient and cheap ($0.60 per person daytime $1 night). Don't even bother getting your dinghy out.

Paperwork

The Galapagos exist solely for tourism, and expensive tourism at that. The Port lacks even a dock. Goods are handled by lighter, pushed by the water taxis. Even small cars are landed this way. The net results are, no facilities for yachts and since the tourists are paying through the nose so do you. Immigration in $20 per person, then you must have an agent $150, pay the national park fee $100 per person, $50 for Children ,then their's customs. Then the port captain will charge you a random but large sum ($227 in our case) for the privilege of anchoring. This charge apparently goes towards lights and buoys and his retirement?. I don't know where they get their light bulbs from.....

 I say you must have an agent, when we didn't have one the port captain summoned him. Thanks to the ARC and blue water rallies he said "I'm busy come back thursday", a short bit of blagging later and we checked in without and agent. Might be worth blagging it.

The Immigration office is in the Police Building opposite the Gate House. The Port Captain in the landscaped area of seafront near the rocks. Follow the iguanas.

Diesel and Water
Diesel and water via a water taxi.

Diesel

 Another enterprising way of extracting yottie cash is diesel. Officially you must buy diesel from a barge and pay extra yachty tax on it. The fuel is reported contaminated. Everyone we knew ignored the law (the water taxis and road taxis are complicit in this) and lugged gerry cans to the petrol station. Diesel is $1.05 a US gallon. No complaints there! I hear a rumour that the navy were staking out the fuel station. But I doubt that's a problem - everybody seems to do it.

Water

 There's nowhere to come along side and take on water. I recommend talking to a water taxi. We paid one a bit to rustle up a large tank and a pump and hose and brought fresh, drinkable water out to us. Either you will need to pump it yourself or provide power to their pump if they have one. Our guys brough 110v (we've 220v) and a 12volt pump. All Went Smoothly, bar the gutting of the cockpit light for the powering of the pump.

Food

 There are supermarkets about, with limited stocks of most things best one is on the dock where the water taxis land. Not big western type supermarkets of Panama. They do not have meat. No meat in shops. No meat in butchers either or it don't look to health. The supermarkets are shy on the veg front too. There is vedge every day at a covered market half way to the fuel station, on the right. I strongly advise you check out Friday, and leave saturday lunch time after visiting the absolutely excellent Saturday market. Its a taxi ride a way. Get your meat and breakfast there and sail off with fresh provisions and a full stomach. Meat looks much healthier here too. bacon is unavailable anywhere.

Beer

 Beer is only available in 600ml deposit return bottles. Which is both expensive and inconvenient. A crate of 12 bottles is £15 dollars + $5 deposit.You could sail to the Marquesas and then sail back with the empties..... The beer and liquor shop are both on the same block inland from the Rock bar.

Navigation

U R Not here
Chart offset

This is fun, the electronic charts said we were on shore! Our Charts said we were about .25 miles south of where we actually were.

Tide is decidedly smaller than Panama City. Which is a blessing.

Currents however are strong. Much stronger than is pleasant. The Pacific crossing Guide says  they're unpredictable. We got to 22Nm from Puerto Ayora. Doing 5 knots under engine and 2.9 across the ground. Had to stop before we actually ran out of fuel. Then floated backwards at 2 knots. Next day we go the barest hint of breeze. We passed 3 miles from where we'd stopped the previous night almost 24 hours to the dot later. This time we had favourable current. Go figure. I think we got very lucky.

Cruising Permits

 I've no idea if you can even get them. Since $1000 dollar trips on local tour boats around the islands is a major industry, I assume not. There are ferries to the other inhabited islands though I do not know the prices.

Sights

 The Galapagos costs are all the government. I rented a bike for 15 bucks and went exploring. The Diving (I'm told) is excellent. Lava tunnels are worth a trip (Belavue and turn right). The wildlife is the major atraction both above and below the water.

[Printable]
Share

Galapagos

Posted: Wed 5th March 2008 in Pilotage
Position: 0° 0' S, 90° 0' W

Paying through the nose is the order of the day in the Galapagos.

Seals
Seals on a boat in puerto Ayora

Most people will make landfall at Puerto Ayora, in Santa Cruz. This is a delightfully crowded anchorage, with poor holding and rolly. We arrived at 4am. Wondering why we were anchored facing the opposite direction to the rest of the anchorage. Almost every one had a stern anchor pointing them out ot sea and into the swell. Which we then copied. There's no where to leave your dinghy. However the water taxis are friendly, efficient and cheap ($0.60 per person daytime $1 night). Don't even bother getting your dinghy out.

Paperwork

The Galapagos exist solely for tourism, and expensive tourism at that. The Port lacks even a dock. Goods are handled by lighter, pushed by the water taxis. Even small cars are landed this way. The net results are, no facilities for yachts and since the tourists are paying through the nose so do you. Immigration in $20 per person, then you must have an agent $150, pay the national park fee $100 per person, $50 for Children ,then their's customs. Then the port captain will charge you a random but large sum ($227 in our case) for the privilege of anchoring. This charge apparently goes towards lights and buoys and his retirement?. I don't know where they get their light bulbs from.....

 I say you must have an agent, when we didn't have one the port captain summoned him. Thanks to the ARC and blue water rallies he said "I'm busy come back thursday", a short bit of blagging later and we checked in without and agent. Might be worth blagging it.

The Immigration office is in the Police Building opposite the Gate House. The Port Captain in the landscaped area of seafront near the rocks. Follow the iguanas.

Diesel and Water
Diesel and water via a water taxi.

Diesel

 Another enterprising way of extracting yottie cash is diesel. Officially you must buy diesel from a barge and pay extra yachty tax on it. The fuel is reported contaminated. Everyone we knew ignored the law (the water taxis and road taxis are complicit in this) and lugged gerry cans to the petrol station. Diesel is $1.05 a US gallon. No complaints there! I hear a rumour that the navy were staking out the fuel station. But I doubt that's a problem - everybody seems to do it.

Water

 There's nowhere to come along side and take on water. I recommend talking to a water taxi. We paid one a bit to rustle up a large tank and a pump and hose and brought fresh, drinkable water out to us. Either you will need to pump it yourself or provide power to their pump if they have one. Our guys brough 110v (we've 220v) and a 12volt pump. All Went Smoothly, bar the gutting of the cockpit light for the powering of the pump.

Food

 There are supermarkets about, with limited stocks of most things best one is on the dock where the water taxis land. Not big western type supermarkets of Panama. They do not have meat. No meat in shops. No meat in butchers either or it don't look to health. The supermarkets are shy on the veg front too. There is vedge every day at a covered market half way to the fuel station, on the right. I strongly advise you check out Friday, and leave saturday lunch time after visiting the absolutely excellent Saturday market. Its a taxi ride a way. Get your meat and breakfast there and sail off with fresh provisions and a full stomach. Meat looks much healthier here too. bacon is unavailable anywhere.

Beer

 Beer is only available in 600ml deposit return bottles. Which is both expensive and inconvenient. A crate of 12 bottles is £15 dollars + $5 deposit.You could sail to the Marquesas and then sail back with the empties..... The beer and liquor shop are both on the same block inland from the Rock bar.

Navigation

U R Not here
Chart offset

This is fun, the electronic charts said we were on shore! Our Charts said we were about .25 miles south of where we actually were.

Tide is decidedly smaller than Panama City. Which is a blessing.

Currents however are strong. Much stronger than is pleasant. The Pacific crossing Guide says  they're unpredictable. We got to 22Nm from Puerto Ayora. Doing 5 knots under engine and 2.9 across the ground. Had to stop before we actually ran out of fuel. Then floated backwards at 2 knots. Next day we go the barest hint of breeze. We passed 3 miles from where we'd stopped the previous night almost 24 hours to the dot later. This time we had favourable current. Go figure. I think we got very lucky.

Cruising Permits

 I've no idea if you can even get them. Since $1000 dollar trips on local tour boats around the islands is a major industry, I assume not. There are ferries to the other inhabited islands though I do not know the prices.

Sights

 The Galapagos costs are all the government. I rented a bike for 15 bucks and went exploring. The Diving (I'm told) is excellent. Lava tunnels are worth a trip (Belavue and turn right). The wildlife is the major atraction both above and below the water.