Visiting Isla Santa Cruz in the Galápagos Archipelago

Cruising Lifestyle (continued)

Our zarpe, or clearance certificate, granting us permission to leave the Galápagos and head to Easter Island. You can click on this picture to enlarge it (105kb); use your browser's "back" command to return here.  

Wednesday, April 7, 2004 (Day 10 in the Galápagos Archipelago)

This is our last day on Isla Santa Cruz, so as you might expect it was another chore day. Our first task was to take care of formalities with Immigration and the Port Captain to check-out of Isla Santa Cruz. Before we could do that, we needed to make more copies of the boat's crew list since the original had been consumed by the bureaucracy. The first copy shop we visited was closed but we were referred to another shop across town where we made copies. Then to the police station to clear immigration where the process was short and sweet with no problems (1.1 miles, total).

As we were walking to the Port Captain's office (0.4 mile), we saw him exiting the building so we expected to be delayed. Sure enough, the adjutant told us to come back later so we walked over to a snack bar (0.4 mile) where we got a refreshing drink called a batido, which is like a fruit smoothie. At the proper time we returned to the Port Captain's office to check-out. This time there was a different officer who was not as suave and friendly as the one who checked us in. He also had a habit of slurring his speech and mumbling so Marcie had trouble understanding him (in Spanish, of course). As part of checking-out, we were required to pay various port fees and Marcie and David were surprised that the fees totaled more than $100, quite a bit more than expected. But we got our zarpe (clearance certificate) and were free to leave the island.

As an aside, you might remember that when we checked-in to Isla Santa Cruz the Port Captain told us we couldn't visit other islands in the Galápagos. However we had since learned from other cruisers that it is quite possible to visit other islands—in fact, the Port Captain on Isla Isabela welcomes visiting cruisers (visitors are a boon for the local economy). Nevertheless, to avoid bureaucratic problems, when we checked-out of Isla Santa Cruz we said we were going to Easter Island. As our own little secret we knew that we would be stopping at Isla Isabela first. This is not as devious as it might sound because in fact this is how we visited the Galápagos in the first place. When we checked-out of the mainland we said we were going to Easter Island but stopped at Isla Santa Cruz first—this caused no problems and we were welcomed. Large numbers of cruisers use the very same bureaucratic work-around.

With formalities complete, we took a "tourist" break and walked over the the Charles Darwin Research Station for a second visit (1.4 miles). On our first visit the sky was overcast and bland but today the sky was blue making the scenery more attractive. Marcie had heard that you could get a special Galápagos stamp in your passport at the park's souvenir stand, and we had to hurry to get there before they closed for midday break. As usual, I tarried to take pictures so I didn't get there in time. But having just completed check-out formalities Marcie had all the passports with her, and being on a mission she got there in time and got everybody's passport stamped—you go, girl!

After enjoying a walk around the Darwin Center (0.6 mile), we walked back to the landing (1.4 miles) stopping at the lavanderia to retrieve our laundry and at the supermercado for last-minute provisioning. While Marcie and David shopped inside, I stood outside and guarded our backbacks (which are not allowed in the store).

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