Isla Isabela – Part 1

Tahina under spinnaker in GalapagosOn Saturday we left Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz in the Galapagos to move to Isla Isabela. The trip is about 42 nautical miles, and we had light winds forecasted. We motored the first hour or so until we got around the shallow waters south of Santa Cruz. We discovered we had about 10 knots of wind behind us, so we set up the spinnaker. We were soon making 5-6 knots. A little while later, the winds picked up and we were making 7-8 knots for most of the way. The weather was gorgeous! We could see many of the islands of the Galapagos along the way, and the seas were pretty much flat. Heading west, the spinnaker soon shaded the entire boat in the afternoon sun and we had a wonderful sail. We set the stereo to blast some nice tunes and kept our eyes peeled for the wonderful marine life. Despite near constant vigilance, the only marine life we saw were a few small fish startled by our boat moving through the clear blue waters. We did see a lot of interesting birds though.

The approach to Puerto Villamil was interesting, but not too difficult. We were soon in a tight anchorage with about two dozen sailboats. We dropped the dinghy a short while after we got our hook set, and went ashore to check with the port captain with our papers. Unfortunately, the captain was out of the office (it was Saturday afternoon after all), but we left the papers with a clerk who told us to come back the next day.

We saw a wonderfull sunset on a beautiful beach near town, and you could tell this place was really laid back. Very few doors were closed, or locked. Bikes left everywhere without locks. Helmets left on scooters and motor-cycles. With a really small community, everyone knows everyone. So, I guess thievery is not much of a problem.

On Sunday we relaxed on the boat in the morning, then went ashore to set up a tour for Monday. We met some other boaters and got some important tips on tours and what’s happening around the island. We were excited to sign up for a tour to the big volcano (2nd largest crater in the world apparently), with a long hike and a horseback ride.

We also tried to arrange for a dive, and to pick up some fins Jason had ordered at Santa Cruz. But, the dive shop wasn’t open on Sunday. On Monday, the fins still weren’t at the dive shop, but I found out that the port captain had left us a message over the radio (another boater told us), and the fins arrived on a Monday afternoon boat. We picked up the fins without a hassle.

We had a fantastic tour today to the volcano. I’ll tell more about it in the next post. I also took some 360 panoramas I hope to share.

Here are some photos from the passage to Isabela:

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