Visiting Isla Floreana in the Galápagos Archipelago

Exploring Puerto Velasco Ibarra (continued)

Our dinghy tied up to the town's stone pier, with pangas moored nearby. This is when we first visited and David took a spill.   Our dinghy on the narrow beach, after we obtained diesel fuel. This is our second visit.

Upon Marcie's inquiry, the woman told us we might be able to purchase some diesel fuel on the other side of town near the electric generating plant. We walked over and found the modest building with two diesel generators, one of which was roaring furiously. After explaining our need to the man in charge, he said we could buy 20 gallons for $1 a gallon, a very reasonable price.

We returned to the boat for breakfast, then dinghied ashore again with four empty fuel jugs. This time, we beached the dinghy on a steep narrow beach. It was a more secure landing, and although we got our feet wet, that's all that got wet. We found the man walking around town reading electric meters and he led us over to a shack off the main road (which was someone's house). In the back there were several 55-gallon drums of diesel fuel, but there wasn't any fuel pump so he had to siphon the fuel into our jugs (starting the siphon by mouth). He also wasn't very neat and splashed fuel all over the jugs.

After paying him, we wiped off the jugs and lugged them back to the beached dinghy. David and I each carried two jugs (about 35 lbs per jug) and I had to take a few short rest breaks when my hands cramped. Along the way, we passed some fishermen walking into town from the pier. One man was pushing a wheelbarrow loaded with the gutted carcasses of huge dark gray fish (David said they were wahoo).

We dropped off the fuel jugs then walked across the street to meet with the Port Captain, but he still wasn't in. Finally, we saw a man in a blue uniform alighting from a panga and carrying a bag of freshly-caught fish. Marcie walked over to inquire and sure enough, he was the Port Captain. Marcie explained in Spanish that we would like to anchor in Post Office Bay, but according to new rules the anchorage is now reserved for tour boats and private yachts are no longer permitted. This was a big disappointment, because we had been looking forward to visiting a really well-protected anchorage and mailing some postcards at the famous mail barrel. (Since the late 1700's, visiting seafarers have picked up and dropped off mail at a wooden barrel on shore.) It didn't make us feel any better when the Port Captain said, oh, if we wanted to visit Post Office Bay, he'd be glad to arrange a panga tour for only $200. We got a pretty strong sales pitch but declined; it was just too much money for a short day trip with an unknown guide and itinerary.

Marcie and David walking along the road to the town pier, which is just out of view to the right. The structure in the center of the picture is a navigation light on a small tower. To the left, you can see Nine of Cups peacefully riding at anchor. Out-of-view to the left is the Armada del Ecuador compound surrounded by a whitewashed stone fence.   A view of the main volcano as we walked across town to the electric generating plant.

A roadside flower. This is called the puncture vine, so named because of its sharp spines.   A passionflower growing near the road.

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