Santa Cruz, Galapagos

The Wild Part of Wildlife–Santa Cruz

The wildlife is everywhere!  After we reached shore, we traversed around lots of sea wolves and marine iguanas.

Matt and Diana arranged for a Santa Cruz land tour which is the quickest and easiest way to see the highlights.  This adventure would bring us to the 2nd largest active crater in the world, Tortuga Bay, and a Tortoise sanctuary.

13 YEARS

Matt and I were celebrating our 13 year anniversary, so did something we have never done before—we dressed alike.  I had purchased a bikini from Pelagic (on sale) a few months ago and the day before we left, they put the men’s swim trunks on sale.  Happy anniversary.

Matt and I Anniversary

Matt and I Anniversary

Sierra Negra Volcano:

Our first stop was the Sierra Negra volcano crater.  This is the 2nd largest active crater in the world and had just erupted 4 months ago.  When you step up to the ledge you cannot really tell if it is a crater or a giant sink hole, but either way it was impressive.  We did not have this impressive view from the ledge, but it does provide a great overview.

Sierra-Negra-2 Courtesy of Casa Natura Galapagos Lodge

Sierra-Negra-2 Courtesy of Casa Natura Galapagos Lodge

Tortuga Bay

Tortuga Bay is a national park located outside of Puerto Ayora.   Since it is a National Park, they prohibit drinking of any kind.  Of course, we did not know that as we loaded up the cooler with beer and rose.  Lucky for us the park was only staffed with one ranger. We set up camp, grabbed a cold beverage and hit the water.  When I say “hit the water” I mean up to our calves as it was COLD!

Santa Cruz Beach Day

Santa Cruz Beach Day

There is tons of wildlife in Tortuga Bay.  Lots of marine iguanas, sally light foot crabs and birds.  Alas, no tortugas.

Beach Day Santa Cruz

Beach Day Santa Cruz

EL CHATO RANCH

El Chato Ranch is an ecological, wildlife reserve where large tortoises roam freely in their natural habitat. This breed is called Galapagos Elephant Tortoises and they are the largest of the seven breeds that roam around the Galapagos islands. It was breathtaking to see these large creatures meandering across our path, eating, bathing, and hanging out.  We kept our distance as they are very afraid of humans and retreat into their shells if you get too close.

Within the sanctuary, there are lava tunnels.  These eerie formations offer a fascinating look into the volcanic belly of the island. The lava tubes were formed when surface lava cooled and solidified, while the underground hot lava continued to flow, eventually leaving an emptied cave

El Chato Rancho Santa Cruz

El Chato Rancho Santa Cruz

Yes, the plant in the center has egg shells on each stem – it is their version of an “egg plant.”

We took a few tourist shots near the Santa Cruz sign and giant iguana before heading back to the boat for some chill time.

Santa Cruz Tourist Pics

Santa Cruz Tourist Pics

Upcoming: Adventures in Isla Isabella

Santa Cruz, Galapagos

Santa Cruz, Galapagos

Sugar Shack was a bit late in arriving to the Galapagos, so we did not have any time to waste before moving to our next island.  Wayne was scheduled to fly into Santa Cruz the day after we arrived.  So, Matt and Diana met us on Sugar Shack to get an early start (at 0600).

The journey from San Cristobal to Santa Cruz is about 40nm.  We had light winds (12-15 kts), small seas (1 meter) and a sunny day.  We did motor sail as we thought we were running late.  Sugar Shack averaged 8kts and got us there by 1330.

In the Galapagos, you have to do formalities each time you arrive to a new island for the first time.  Our agent, Javier Plua Rizzo with YachtGala  met us on-board with an official who actually gave Diana the stink eye when she tried to capture the photo below.

Formalities in Santa Cruz

Formalities in Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz:

This formality check in was a short one since we did the initial clearance in San Cristobal.  We won’t have to go through this again when we return to Santa Cruz.

After we were official, we hopped in a water taxi and made our way to The Rock, a local eatery.  Javier arranged to have someone meet Wayne at the airport and bring him to this restaurant.

Santa Cruz is the most populated island if the archipelago and has the most resources available.  Including, markets, marine stores, hardware stores, pharmacies, laundromats, etc…We did not have time to explore, but made a note of several places we wanted to visit later.

Wayne was saddled with bringing in our new radar dome.  It is not a heavy piece of equipment, but it is large and bulky.  Poor thing had all sorts of trouble with the airlines and local government.  We think every official that could, inspected the box.  It had more tape than cardboard when it arrived.

We headed back to the boat for some snacks and a drink fest.  Welcome to Santa Cruz!

Sugar Shack in Galapagos

Sugar Shack in Galapagos

Coming Up Next: Land and Sea Tours

With the Barkers and Wayne across the Galapagos.

Another beautiful Sunset

Traversing the Pacific to Galapagos

Now…catch up on previous events.  We hope you have enjoyed our live blogs.  This blog is from November 2018.

Matt and I so desperately wanted to leave Costa Rica.  Not because it was a bad place to visit, but because we wanted to get out of the rainy / lightning zone and because we had been there 5.5 months longer than originally planned.  Once we ensured all of our new equipment was in working order, we set our goal for traversing the pacific.

First, we had to clear out of Costa Rica and that entailed a 160-mile sail from Quepos to Golfito.  We considered doing the journey in one trip, overnight, but considering we did not have our “sea legs” just yet, we broke it up into 2.5 days.  After a 2 day stop in Golfito, we did a light provision and began our journey across the pacific.

The plan was to head for the Galapagos and if the wind took us toward Isla Cocos, we would make a “random” stop.  The schedule was estimated at a 6-7 day sail to Galapagos, with an additional 2-3 days added if we stopped at Isla Cocos.  Matt and I took 3 hour shifts (meaning 3 hours on and 3 hours off) the entire way.  We motor sailed most of the trip because the winds were very light.

Matt was able to live blog during the first 3 days so I will not duplicate his efforts.  However, below, I did add some details that were left off the blog and I added updates on the last part of the trip.  Matt could not update the blog after the 3rd day as the SSB failed for some reason.

Overall map of our track:

Crossing: Costa Rica to Galapagos

Crossing: Costa Rica to Galapagos

TOTAL TRIP STATS:

  • 809nm – Miles Traveled
  • 11.0kt – Max Speed
  • 6.kt – Average Speed
  • 6-1kt – Wind Speed

Each 24 hour period breakdown is below along with some additional highlights that missed the “live blogs.”

24 HOURS

  • 147nm – Miles Traveled
  • 9.5kt – Max Speed
  • 6.1kt – Average Speed
  • 6-8kt – Wind Speed
  • 562.27 – Distance to Destination

We had a beautiful brown footed boobie land our boat and traverse the pacific (or at least part of it) with us.  Not sure why they call this a “brown” foot boobie when his feet were clearly yellow, but they do.

Brown Foot Boobie

Brown Foot Boobie

We also had a gorgeous sunset to start the night voyage.

Sunset Traversing the Pacific

Sunset Traversing the Pacific

48 HOURS

  • 296nm – Miles Traveled
  • 9.9kt – Max Speed
  • 6.2kt – Average Speed
  • 6-2kt – Wind Speed
  • 465.95 – Distance to Destination

A couple of hitchhikers made their way onto Sugar Shack.  At first it was entertaining as we watched them prune and play with each other.  But then, we watched them barf and poop all over the boat which was disgusting.  So we did our best to keep them away,