Visiting Isla Santa Cruz in the Galápagos Archipelago

Cruising Lifestyle

This handsome boat named Sirenian was near us in the anchorage. Sirenian is a former U.S. Coast Guard patrol boat that was built in 1955. It is now owned by the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and operated by Galápagos National Park rangers who patrol the park to protect the marine resources against illegal fishing activities.   The volcanic hills next to Academy Bay, just after sunrise. I took this picture just after taking the picture of Sirenian and shortly after the sequence of colorful sunrise photographs I presented earlier.

The freighter Paoa hailing from Guayaquil, Ecuador, at anchor. If you look closely you can see a car on the mid-deck, since vehicles have to be shipped from the mainland as deck cargo.  

One of the mega-yachts anchored further out in the bay, at sunset.  

There's a lot more to cruising than just visiting tourist attractions and snapping pictures. In most of this on-line journal, I've edited-out the mundane details and tedious chores like doing laundry, searching for supplies, attending to boat chores, etc. Unfortunately, there are enough mundane details and tedious chores that they occupy a significant amount of our time. If you live ashore in a house, I'm sure you carry out a similar set of routines to support your shoreside lifestyle. To give you a better idea of the cruising lifestyle, I'd like to present a few day's worth of journal entries with all the routine details included. In fact, these particular days were all routine details since we didn't do any "touristy" things.

Saturday, April 3, 2004 (Day 6 in the Galápagos Archipelago)

Last night was very rolly aboard Nine of Cups and restful sleep was elusive. We don't have a stern anchor deployed so the boat is free to swing around the anchor and point in any direction. Sometimes the boat winds up broadside to the incoming swell and in this position rolls sideways all night long. A little rolling is pleasant but last night's rolling was vigorous enough to roll me around in bed.

Because of last night's rolling, David today decided to set a stern anchor which will hopefully keep the bow pointed into the swells and greatly reduce side-to-side rolling. David hauled the boat forward with the electric windlass to remove the anchor snubber, which is a length of stretchy rope that acts like a shock absorber. With the boat hauled forward, we should have been in the exact same position as when we set the anchor days ago. I checked the alignment of several shoreside landmarks that I had picked out days ago and the marks were in perfect alignment. This meant that the anchor was firmly set and hadn't dragged, which was good.

With the snubber removed, David let out lots of anchor chain and allowed the boat to drift way back. Once the boat was properly positioned, he untied the stern anchor from its home alongside the mast pulpit and lugged the heavy anchor to the stern, being careful not to scrape the caprail varnish or deck paint. He retrieved the spare anchor chain and rope from the deck storage box, shackled it to the anchor, then passed the rope under the lifelines and flaked it out on deck. As I leaned overboard and held the chain away from the boat (to avoid scratches), David hefted the anchor waist high and heaved it astern—kersplash it went and line went flying after it.

With the stern anchor deployed, David used the windlass to haul the boat forward again, back to our original position. He reattached the snubber and let out enough chain so the snubber took up the load. Then we walked aft and tugged on the line to the stern anchor—tension on this line will keep the bow pointed straight into the swells. Once properly tensioned the line was cleated off and we were done.

Being Saturday it was market day, when farmers and fishermen sell their wares at the mercado municipal (town market). We were eager for fresh produce so hailed a water taxi and rode to shore. There are actually two markets in the same vicinity: a big outdoor market open Saturdays-only and a smaller indoor market open every day. After a 1.3-mile walk we reached the markets but found the indoor market disappointing due to its limited selection. The outdoor market was bigger and livelier but was much smaller than the street market in La Libertád. Selection and prices were so-so and it required several circuits of the stalls to identify the best buys. Each purchase was stowed in our backbacks. As usual, fresh fish was displayed under the hot sun with no ice or refrigeration. With our backpacks reaching their limit, we headed back to the boat to unload, walking another 1.3 miles.

Back on the boat, David donned his diving gear and dove to the harbor bottom one last time, trying to recover the lost weight belt. Bottom visibility was still poor and with his air supply running low he reluctantly gave up. A while later we water-taxied back to town, this time lugging the rented diving gear. Since the air tank was heavy, we took a taxi to the dive shop; David returned the gear and paid the "lost equipment" fee. We decided to walk back (1.6 miles).

The dive shop was at the far end of the waterfront, and we moseyed back towards the landing pausing here and there to browse for souvenirs or just window-shop. We visited a couple of fancy shops selling really nice arts and crafts, but only to look and not to buy. As usual I took pictures, getting some pretty good shots in the rich late-afternoon sunlight.

We finally worked our way back to the internet cafe where Marcie went online and processed email. We also ordered the license upgrade for the Pactor system, although we'll have to return again later to get the response email which will contain a special code number to activate the software.

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