Visiting Isla Isabela in the Galápagos Archipelago

First Impressions (continued)

The sign for Club Nautico, the beach bar/restaurant. Marcie is sitting outside talking to two local guides, Richar, left, and Joseph (a.k.a. José), right.   The interior of the beach bar/restaurant. The seats are sawed-off tree stumps on a natural sand floor.

Marcie, hanging out at the Club Nautico, looking very cool. David's nose and elbow make a cameo appearance, at left.  

While inspecting the landing, we saw a funky little beachfront bar/restaurant and walked over to get something to drink. They were serving lunch and the food looked good, so our appetites got the best of us and we ordered the full meal. The fixed-price meal was $2.50 and included delicious fresh-squeezed orange juice, shrimp cebiche soup, and a main course of fried fish, rice, and corn/beans in white sauce. It was good and the price was right.

The restaurant was decorated in an artistic folk style by arranging "found objects" like driftwood, shells, skeletons of sea creatures, ropes, floats, etc. Overhead there were Pilsener beer flags, signal flags, and national ensigns hanging from the rude thatched roof. The dining area was open-sided with a natural sand floor, and the seats were sawed-off tree stumps. I thought it was a really neat place, but unfortunately they blew it by trying to significantly overcharge us (Marcie noticed the error and insisted on the proper amount of change).

It was a long walk back to the dink, but along the way we met two local folks and had interesting conversations. The first was a man who was driving by in his red truck and stopped when he recognized Marcie and David. He remembered seeing them in Puerto Ayora, and even remembered seeing Jelly on the boat (he likes animals). He mentioned the gato gordito (fat cat) but Marcie pointed out that Jelly is a gata (female cat) and not a gato (male cat). He introduced himself as Antonio Gil, and it turns out he is a fourth-generation Galápagos resident—there's even a street named after his grandfather. He owns a hotel in town and a farm outside of town, and can arrange tours, fuel purchases, horse rentals, etc.

A short time later we were walking near the town square when a man on a bicycle stopped to talk with us. His name was Richar (pronounced ree-CHAR) and he worked as a tour guide and "arranger". Although Ecuadorian, he spoke English well since he had lived in the States for a while with his father, who was from Philadelphia. Marcie asked both Antonio and Richar about a taking a guided tour by horseback up the Sierra Negra volcano. This tour was highly recommended by other cruisers, and it looks like we'll be able to arrange it through Richar and Antonio.

When we got back to the dinghy it was high and dry at low tide, so we had to drag it to the water then take a careful route back to the boat, avoiding the now more prominent harbor reefs and breakers. In the afternoon, we all worked on boat chores; afterwards, David made pizza for dinner.

As for first impressions, I though Puerto Villamil was quite charming and attractive although it was very different from Puerto Ayora. And Puerto Ayora, despite being a small town itself, now seemed to be a major metropolis compared to the tiny outpost of Puerto Villamil.

The small-boat anchorage at Puerto Villamil; Nine of Cups is the right-most boat. You can clearly see waves breaking on the sunken reef in the foreground. The islets all around the anchorage provide good protection from the swell.  

Happy Easter

Sunday, April 11, 2004 (Day 14 in the Galápagos Archipelago)

Today is Easter Sunday, and the Easter Bunny actually left us some Easter eggs. Yesterday, Marcie used colored pens to decorate some hardboiled eggs with patterns and each person's name. They were brown eggs to start with, so she didn't need to dye them. The eggs were cute, and it was enjoyable to go through a familiar holiday ritual despite being thousands of miles from home.

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