February 2010 - page 3
It is the rainy season in Galapagos which is probably good for us as we are having a hard time not getting sunburned. Even though we slather on the 50 spf sunscreen and wear sunglasses and hats, any exposed skin is burned. Ryan even got a sunburn on the top of his hands, poor guy.
The kids wanted to sleep in the cockpit to try to scare away the sea lions so we agreed. At 11:00 p.m I woke them all up and made them move inside because I couldn’t sleep knowing they were vulnerable to the sea lions plus it was raining. In the morning, there were 4 that is FOUR sea lions in the cockpit, one on each cockpit cushion, one on the blue cushion the kids were sleeping on and one on the side deck. Obviously we need to work a little harder on our barracades. Unbelievable.
It is starting to get really busy in the anchorage. The World ARC boats are arriving, there are about 30 boats. We were planning to leave but have heard on the SSB radio that our friends on sv Kamaya our on their way in, so we will wait one more day before moving on to Santa Cruz so we can see them and the kids can play together.
February 24, 2010 San Cristobal to Acadamy Bay, Santa Cruz, Galapagos - 45.45nm
The anchorage is not very well protected so everyone seems to put out a stern anchor. It is a great idea and keeps the boat head into the swell. There are lots of tour boats here, it seems to be a very busy place. Santa Cruz is the most populated of all the Galapagos Islands with approximatley 6000 people. If you want to buy a t-shirt, this is the place to do it. The whole main street is lined with restaurants, souvenir shops, art galleries, and tour/dive shops. I went to one tour shop to ask about a day tour to the island of Bartolome. They wanted $130 USD each with no discount for the kids!! So we will be skipping that one.
We walked over to the Charles Darwin Research Centre. This is a tortoise breeding and rearing center, where endangered sub species are hatched and cared for until they're old enough to protect themselves in the wild. Tortoises have been moved from other islands where they were in danger of becoming extinct. Lonesome George is here, he is the last surviving Pinta island tortoise, he is about 120 years old and the only one left in the world of his species. There is a $10,000 reward for anyone who can find him a mate of his own species. So start searching people!
We got back to the boat around 4:00 p.m. and found three new boats (from the World Arc) surrounding us and practically blocking us in. One of them is 80 feet to our starboard. We found out that they took off on a 5 day tour and the engine doesn't work! Although there is a couple staying on it to watch it. We discussed whether or not we should move and of course we should of but we were tired from the day and didn't feel up to the task plus we would of had to get the boat in front of us to move as he was probably on our anchor. I said well if the wind doesn't pick up tonight we will be fine. Of course as soon as it got dark, the wind not only picks up but does a 180 so the wind is now coming from behind and so the whole boat (and everybody else's) is being held by the stern anchor. It was raining buckets. If our stern anchor let go, then we would of hit the boat in front of ours as they were anchored too close. One local sailboat in front of us did drag right into a large tour motor boat. After a few hours the wind died down and everything calmed down. But we definitely are not comfortable being so boxed in like this.
The morning of February 27th (Andrea's 10th birthday!) we were woken up by a knock on our hull at 5:00 a.m. by some World Arc cruisers telling us that we had to get out as there was an earthquake in Chile and there could be a Tsunami at 0715 here. We are so thankful that they told us as we don't keep our radio turned on at night (new rule - Keep radio on at all times!) We had plenty of time to evacuate, however we had to extracate ourselves from our crowded in spot. We tidied the boat quickly, lowered the dingy, retreived our stern anchor. We were concerned about the boat in front of us' stern anchor, being on or too close to our bow anchor. There didn't seem to be anybody on the boat, fortunatley the water taxi dropped them off just as we started hauling up the anchor. It was tight but we got our anchor up and were on our way, motoring out of the anchorage at full speed. We went about 3 miles out into 500 feet of water. After motoring/sailing around for 5-6 hours the port captain allowed everyone back into the anchorage but suggested someone stay on the boat as an anchor watch. The water level was still going up and down not normally. We chose a different spot that we hoped would give us more room - bad idea!!! (see below)
We spent the rest of the day celebrating our little girl turning ten!! We made lots of food and cupcakes and watched some new movies that she received. Chris took them kneeboarding and tubing, but the swell was so large that he couldn't drive the dingy very well, but we felt we had to do something special for her birthday.
Damage from the Tsunami. Two boats were damaged that we know of. One, as mentioned above didn't have anybody on board as their owners and crew were off touring and the people minding the boat couldn't move it as the engine didn't work - they had some stanchions ripped out, and it got bashed up pretty good by the boat anchored beside it. It was left in the anchorage as well as the owners decided because they have kids aboard it would be safer to go ashore to high ground and not head out. They must have got thrown into each other. Their anchors were all wrapped around each other as well. What a mess!
The following morning at 0700, we were woken up by a knock on our hull by a National Park boat saying that we had to move because they were bringing a large boat in and we were in their spot. I was so ticked! We spent 2 hours trying to find a spot in the crowded anchorage and after trying a few different spots, came back and anchored in our same spot just in front of the big boat. Hopefully they will leave us in peace for the rest of our stay here.
We took a water taxi to the Finch Bay Hotel dock. We went onto the rocks to watch the marine iguanas swimming in to shore to sun themselves on the lava rock. Then hiked past Punta Estrada Beach, the salt mine where local residents sometimes extract salt for their use and for processing sea products. Then up to Las Grietas, which is a fissure in the volcanic rock. Once you climb to the top in the sweltering sun, it is a refreshing swim in the satwater swimming hole. There were lots of people there jumping off the cliffs (actually it was some of the same people that were on the boat on our snorkelling trip in San Cristobal -they told us that everyone in San Cristboal was evacuated from their homes and up to higher ground). Andrea and Ryan were trying to climb up to jump off but the rocks were too slippery (thank goodness, I think I have had enough stress over the last 24 hours!)