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…
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 😉
We completed the ARC+ Leg 1 in five days and eleven hours. With all the handicaps applied our final position was 22nd out of the 92 boats, and fifth in our division of nineteen – a great result!
After very calm winds at the start, the weather was perfect for the passage – 15-20 knots of wind generally from behind. We poled out the genoa, put a preventer on the main, and let her fly. Even the swell wasn’t too bad.
We’ve now had a few days in Cape Verde. There were surprisingly few snags on the boat so we’ve done some tourism, driving around the island of St Vicente and yesterday visiting the neighbouring island of Santo Antào. Spectacular scenery!
On Friday we start leg 2 – 2000nm to Grenada – wish us luck!
A must-do tourist trip in Gibraltar is the cable-car ride to the top of the Rock. Once there, you can get bitten by angry apes, visit the caves and 24 miles of tunnels in the Rock, then walk down the hill back to town.
We stayed three nights in Elba, the first at anchor on the south coast and then two nights in Portoferraio, the capital. The girls explored some of the town while I found an electrician to get our USB sockets working again – thanks Carlo
After much googling, we discovered that free covid tests are carried out at Elmas Airport when international flights arrive. So we grabbed a cab to the airport and got there just as the medical staff were setting up. All over in 5 minutes, results in a couple of days. We’ve decided we’re now released from isolation on the boat… Letter of the law and all that.
Tuesday. No results but the spare part for the shower pump arrived today from Germany so this will be our last night in Cagliari!