It has been a busy week in Puerto Baquerizo, San Cristobal, with 25 boats in the World ARC 2023-24 fleet arriving to the shores of the Galapagos Islands.
Being one of the world’s most protected marine parks there is a strict clearance process with up to 11 authorities boarding each boat to inspect foods, medical kits, safety equipment and check each crew members into the country. Additionally a diver inspects each boat to ensure the hulls are free of growth which may be introduced into the highly protected waters.
Rally control are at hand prior to the first boat’s arrival to ensure the authorities are in place and have all the correct paperwork prepared well in advance of the fleet’s arrival. Despite the complex process, with everything well prepared it takes about 1-hour for each boat to be cleared. Once all the formalities are ticked the fun begins!
During their 2 weeks stay in Galapagos the fleet have the option to sail to 3 of the main islands. Many choose to stay around 4-5 days on San Cristobal, the port of entry, where World Cruising include a half-day tour. Setting of by bus from the pier, the adventure takes you to visit El Junco being a volcanic crater lake fed by rainfall and featuring a variety of wildlife to include the graceful frigatebirds taking a dip to wash off the salt water after a hard day’s fishing at sea. After a good leg stretch, its on to Galapaguera de Cerro Colorado which is a tortoise sanctuary and an excellent place to get up close to the famous giant tortoises in their natural habitat. The final destination on the tour takes participants to the breath-taking beach in Puerto Chino on the south-eastern corner of the island.
With an abundance of tour guides and shops there are many more options to take further tours to include day trips to the famous Kicker Rock where many have seen hammerhead sharks.
The World ARC office in San Cristobal is kindly hosted by Katy and her team at the Miconia Hotel. Located overlooking the port and anchorage it offers the perfect base for both Yellow Shirts and participants. With the opportunity to enjoy Happy Hour Cocktails each evening it has been fun for all crew to gather and celebrate their arrival into the islands.
The arrival of World ARC coincides with Carnival time. There are many local activates taking place in the town and this year they are celebrating 50 years of community engagement projects in collaboration of all the islands of Galapagos. The weekend begun with a parade proceeding through the town where all the town’s communities and services were applauded. The procession was attended by all corners of the island to include the medical, military, navy, fire, vets, care and support service, schools, colleges and lots of music and dance groups.
The weekend continues with plenty of musical entertainment around the port.
After a wonderful welcome to the Galapagos islands, anchors are being hauled up and bows begin to head towards the next magical island of Isabela. Many more adventures are ahead of the fleet prior to gathering in Santa Cruz, the main island in the archipelago and where the Galapagos programme continues before preparing for the big sail to the Marquesas.