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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Goodbye Galapagos!

We finished up our stay at San Cristobal with two more trips out to La Loberia, and a lot of shopping and readying for our July 12 departure.

I never thought I would find myself putting petroleum jelly on fresh eggs, but on the strong recommendations of two highly respected friends (Georgie and Ruth, who swore they will last for 2-3 months unrefrigerated!) we bought 90 eggs in paper egg crates. After covering the shells with vaseline we taped the crates shut again and stowed them in the pullman berth. Ziggy has already walked on them, but the shells are tough and I don't think he broke any. We paid .15/egg for them so John says that at $1/egg in French Polynesia we only have to eat five out of each 30 to come out ahead!

We decided to provision before the traditional Saturday market day since the supply ships had finished unloading by Thursday and nothing new would be arriving from the mainland until the next Tuesday. We were happy to have made that decision when we walked by a store on Saturday afternoon and saw that they only had one loaf of good wheat bread left. And it was also nice to have all the food on board and stowed so that we could relax and enjoy our last full day in the Galapagos.

Low tide on Saturday was at 11 AM which is exactly when we walked into the water with our snorkel gear for one final close encounter with the sea turtles at La Loberia. This time we counted at least nine of them and recognized the biggest female by the damage to the right side of her shell. She was probably struck by a boat since she has a dent behind her front flipper and a crack on the aft edge of her shell. This time there was a curious and playful sea lion which came almost nose to nose with my face mask. That's a bit closer than I would wish for with a wild animal, but at least I never saw its teeth.

The previous Sunday we walked out to La Loberia without our snorkel gear to explore the narrower path off to the right. To our surprise we discovered that this is where the majority of the marine iguanas are to be found. There were a few large groups communing in the sun on the warm lava rocks and we got some great pictures that day. John got a little too close to one group and a small iguana expelled the excess salt from its nose (like a big salty sneeze) which is what they do in preparation for running away from threats.

I made another double batch of granola and some more bran muffins because the first rounds of each were already eaten or given away to friends. We sent everything I could think of to the laundry since we won't be seeing anything as inexpensive as $1/kilo again. John went up the mast to the spreaders to fix a flag halyard that had parted. We had 100 gallons of water delivered to Nakia at $3 per five gallon jug from our agent, Bolivar. We stowed all the bits and pieces that invariably make their way out of cupboards and drawers while at anchor, and tried to anticipate and cushion the items that were most likely to bang or knock underway.

After a last pizza at Miconia with Don and Priscilla Saturday night we thought we were pretty set to go, but Sunday morning we were still busy. Sail covers came off; we moved gear from the quarter berth to the pullman berth to make our sea berth; Ziggy's litter box and the carpets got a good cleaning; John ran the Sunday SSB net; Bronwyn and the La Barca kids came over for a chat and to return the Galapagos wildlife book I had loaned them; we tied the dinghy on deck; John scrubbed the rocker stopper and the anchor chain when we jumped in the water for a final swim/bathe; I washed the breakfast dishes, and by that time we were hungry for lunch! But with a long toot on John's cow horn and CSN's "Southern Cross" playing on the stereo, we finally raised anchor, shut off the engine, and sailed out of the anchorage at 12:30 PM.

We based our departure date on being at San Cristobal for the maximum allowable 20 day stay and by total coincidence three boats arriving there after us also decided to depart for the Marquesas on the same day. We were the first boat out of the anchorage followed an hour later by Valiam (home ported in Mooloolaba, Australia). Bill and Linda soon appeared on our stern and we attempted to take some pictures as they went flying by us. I'm sure they will make landfall in less than 20 days. The next two boats to leave were Chautauqua (Don and Priscilla) and Taisho (with Bob single handing). They are the only other American boats we've seen since leaving Bahia. Amazingly enough our speeds have matched well enough to maintain VHF radio contact with them (but not visual contact) and we check in with each other a few times throughout the day and night.

We're getting bounced around quite a bit, but we're happy to be making good speed over the ground for a change. So no complaints about that! You can follow our progress at:


Linda and John