Sent Wednesday April 14, 2004.
Currently at S 02 o 47’ / W 094 o 15’
Enroute to the Marquesas .. with some time to catch up on my journal.
Sam, Dick and Peter
Friday, 2200hrs CST, April 9, 2004:
S 00o44.869′, W 090o18.517′
(Puerto Ayora, Galapagos Island)
It was midday, Tuesday March 30th, when we arrived in the harbor of Puerto Ayora. We hailed our pre-arranged shipping agent, Ricardo Arenas, via VHF and he advised us to anchor and take a water taxi into the dock after the lunch hour was over at 1:30. We motored pass a couple of 150+ foot sailing yachts on the way in and then looped through the inner harbor, ending up amidst several “normal” size yachts and next to an Ecuadorian Navy training vessel. Concerned about maintaining our position, we set two anchors off the bow and were just contemplating a third anchor off the stern, when a small run-about came up. The occupant motioned for Peter to hand him the anchor and began helping set it, explaining to Peter in spanish that all the boats in the harbor require stern anchors. Peter was racing to untangle and uncoil the anchor line as the gentleman raced to set the anchor. His haste seemed motivated by the challenge and fun of setting it as quickly as possible, rather than out of impatience. Once the anchor was set, he introduced himself as Fauto and offered his services for the duration of our stay.
Fauto is a native of the Galapagos, about 5’10” with medium build, dark haired and an infectious smile. We were to discover that whatever task Fauto assumed, he attacked with enthusiasm. Thus far, Fauto has cleaned the boat bottom, fixed our outboard (again) and procured diesel and water. The diesel fuel had to come from across the island and be ferried out to Lillian in 15-20 gallon jerry cans, which then had to be manhandled onto the deck and siphoned into our tanks. The water, a precious commodity at 45 cents a gallon, was transported in the same way, all 140 gallons of it. If you are ever in Galapagos, Fauto is your man.
After setting the anchor, Fauto gave Kay, Peter and me a ride to shore to clear customs and immigration. The check-in was no more than a cursory formality costing $100. We had expected at least some questions as to the fruit and vegetables on board, out of concern for environmental contamination. We had even made sure to consume or jettison all fruits and vegetables prior to our arrival. In both Jamaica and Panama, they had a checklist of forbidden items. In the Galapagos, the authorities simply accepted a copy of our health clearance from when we had entered Panama. Perhaps this was special treatment, because we had enlisted the help of a shipping agent, Ricardo Arenas. However, it was not the only example of discrepancies between the regulations and restrictions listed in various guidebooks and what is actually enforced in the Galapagos. Dick’s assessment is that the bureaucracy is simply not set up to deal with tourist arriving by boat. In any case, we had officially arrived in the amazing Galapagos Islands.