It’s quite a place. We had 11 inspectors going over the boat on arrival, and a pair of divers who inspected the hull for contaminants (e.g. barnacles). We were OK, but one boat in the fleet failed the hull inspection and had to go 25 nm off-shore, pay for hull cleaning and pay a fine. Bad luck.
Once cleared in you are only allowed to visit three islands and not permitted to snorkel, dive, hike, use your tender or any way explore without a tour guide. One wonders if they really want us there.
Having said that, the sights are unique. San Cristobal is the island where it’s impossible not to trip over sea lions in the street. Isabela has major colonies of the blue-footed booby, and Santa Cruz has it all – iguanas, sea turtles, boobies, sea lions, dolphins, the lot.
Since it’s our second time in Galapagos (the first was in 2018), it was great to see it from our own boat. Will we return? Probably not…
855 nautical miles, 5 days, but unfortunately, after the first day, there was no wind. We motored at reduced speed so we had a better chance of catching fish (not many fish that you want on board can swim at 8 kt).
At least, motoring, you don’t have to worry about a night-time squall requiring a sail-plan change, but we used 670 litres of fuel which won’t be cheap in Galapagos.
At midnight on the 12th of February we crossed the equator. I woke up the crew (fast asleep, as usual) and Karen came on deck with a bottle of champagne and an “Equator Cake”. After a suitable celebration I retired in order to be compos mentis for the Galapagos arrival.
We’re now on San Cristobal island, Galapagos, preparing for inspection so we can continue to stay. Fingers crossed they don’t find my stack of Cheesey Puffs!
The first 12 boats in the World ARC 2023 transited the Panama Canal on 29 & 30 January 2023. We were divided into four “nests” of three boats each, with Mistral as the starboard boat of Nest 1. After collecting our Panama Canal advisor next to Shelter Bay Marina, we motored down to Gatun Lock which we cleared through in the dark. Next we continued on to Gatun Lake where we moored up for the night.
The next day was a long motor through Gatun Lake to the Pedro Miguel Lock and the Miraflores Lock. Unfortunately our advisors were unable to prevent Nest 1 from colliding with the lock wall as we exited Miraflores – the stanchions are being repaired as I type.
Passing under the Bridge of the Americas marks the transition from the Atlantic to the Pacific – we’ve now sailed our boat from France to the Pacific Ocean!
Tim & Jane have now flown back to the UK and Shirley & David are joining us for the next leg to Las Perlas Islands and Galapagos.
A few relaxing days in Santa Marta. Apart from straightening a stanchion, there has been very little work to do on the boat, apart from routine maintenance and cleaning. Karen, Tim & Jane took a one-day tour to the hills and coffee factory (see Karen’s site for more). We had a couple of meals in town in the evening and sundowner cocktails in the marina. The highlight was Chris’s chilli on the boat 😉