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Monday, June 22, 2009

Day 6, Plata to Galapagos - Arrival!

Land Ho! at 6:20 PM yesterday, and I watched the sun set just to the left of Isla San Cristobal. We switched the watch schedule around so that John would be awake as we made our final approach. After sailing as slowly as possible we finally hove to for four hours. It was incredibly frustrating to have to put on the brakes just as our destination came into view. We had an uneventful night drifting slowly northwest until we could sail again at midnight. Finally we said, the heck with the record, and we fired up the engine just before dawn. So we still have not sailed entirely anchor to anchor yet (other than on day sails or short passages), but we sure achieved our longest continuous sailing passage to date. John figures we actually traveled a total distance of 534 nm.

We exchanged greetings with Windweaver, Mudskipper, and Spica, and set the anchor in the clear blue water of this well protected harbor. Our agent, Bolivar, and the naval inspector visited us shortly thereafter for coffee and formalities, and then we were free to lower our yellow quarantine flag. We're permitted to wait until tomorrow to visit Migracion, after a return visit from Bolivar and the Health/Agriculture inspector in the morning. Today we'll put the boat back together as a living space, catch up on our rest, and commune with the baby sea lion that has already paid a visit to rub on our rudder and check out Ziggy's rescue ropes. We don't use our dinghy here to get back and forth from shore (because of the damage the sea lions can do when they haul themselves out on the dinghies), but we may take a ride around if the breeze calms down later. The shore "pangas" are very nice large inflatables that look like tenders for small cruise ships, and which only cost .50 per person one way ($1 after dark). Along with assorted tour boats and fishing vessels, there are seven other cruising sailboats in the harbor with us, which is way down from the season high of 25 or so. The water temp is only in the mid-70s but it seems very clean for getting in and scrubbing the gooseneck barnacles off the waterline. We've been told the sea lions take a great interest in this activity so we're actually looking forward to it!

Linda and John