With Rally Control set up at the Hernan Café in Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz, the World ARC fleet have been busy enjoying more of what the Galapagos have to offer.
A number of participants have island hopped to beautiful Isabela for a few days, either with their yacht or independently to see the incredible landscapes, live volcano and exotic flightless birds – particularly the pink flamingos and penguins. Tri II Fly Dusty's fantastic photos are shown below. Amazing Grace swam with penguins in the ‘tunelas’ area of the island, with the surf breaking over the rocks – Ann described it as absolutely “gorgeous”. Sea horses, rays and reef sharks were aplenty in the water, and they were even lucky enough to see the blue-footed boobie mating dance. The male draws out his nest in the ground, whistles and lifts his feet, and the female quacks in response. He approaches with his dance, and leans forward with his beak. If she flaps her wings, she has accepted his advances.
Sapphire II of London and Amari have been to El Pinzon snorkelling, seeing dolphins, rays, turtles and a little too friendly Galapagos sharks.
Marja II have been to Daphne on a snorkelling and fishing adventure. Their guides were constantly fishing throughout the trip, whipping up some delicious fresh sashimi on the boat for lunch.
On Santa Cruz island itself, the tourism hub of the Galapagos, participants have cycled to El Chato giant tortoise sanctuary, where the tortoises live. An added bonus to walking around the sanctuary is the lava tunnels which can be explored under the ground there. Santa Cruz Island is literally riddled with underground passages, which were formed by ancient lava that once flowed across these islands. The 'Gemelos' volcanic craters are close by and a brilliant sight, with the trees overgrowing the huge twin craters. A lovely 2.5 km nature track from the centre of Puerto Ayora brings you to the stunning white sand Tortuga Bay, and lagoon just around the corner if you can get past the iguanas resting on the sand.
Diving trips have been very popular, with many of the fleet diving at Kicker Rock in San Cristobal followed by North Seymour and Gordon Rocks off Santa Cruz. Hammerhead sharks, turtles, mantas, spotted eagle rays and moray eels have all been spotted, accompanied by the occasional sea lion having a play in the water.
Thinking ahead, to the 2980 nautical miles ahead of the fleet next Wednesday, the fleet have started to stock up on their provisions and make the necessary preparations. After making their meal plans for the trip, participants have discovered the local fresh fruit and vegetable market and stocking up on meat to freeze. A number are preparing meals ahead of times and packing them tightly in the freezer for ease during the sail. A number of fruits are also grown on the island, including pineapple, bananas and mangoes, so they won’t go without some nice fresh fruit salads for at least a few days after departing.
Yellow shirt Matt has been working hard arranging the re-fuelling process, taking exact quantities and payment upfront for the yachts’ gasoline needs. The fuelling boat has started going around today to fill up their tanks for the long journey ahead. Those air conditioning, ice maker and coffee by generator needs must be met, as well as the occasional forward motor in the doldrums.
Over the daily sundowners at the Hernan Café, participants have been chatting about their Galapagos trips and sharing stories, along with their planning for the journey ahead. The atmosphere is buzzing here in the Galapagos at this colourful stopover.