Weekend Arrival at the Galapagos

San Cristobal - port of entry for clearing into GalapagosWe had to slow down our approach to the Galapagos starting on Thursday night because the speed were sailing would have us arriving at the port at night. Since it isn’t a good idea to arrive at an unfamiliar port at night, we reefed our sails to slow down. We timed it perfectly with an arrival just past dawn.

An hour or two after we set anchor, a taxi brought our agent Bolivar out along with customs and immigrations officials. Bolivar is very competent and helpful, but only speaks spanish. Fortunately, Lara speaks spanish, and we had little difficulty communicating. The officials sat at the cockpit table and asked for some copies of our paperwork. I had to print off color copies of passports and ships papers. The crew offered them a drink – one of them actually asked for a beer at 8:30 AM! – while I did the printing. The customs official asked to see our fruits and vegetables and did an inspection of the boat. There were no issues, but we were asked not to take organic trash ashore. They do recycle all the major categories – a good thing for a place like the Galapagos! They also asked for our fumigation certificate – which we had done in Panama.

The officials called a water taxi, and told us we would all have to go ashore now. We had no idea they would want us to go ashore – Karen was asleep! So, we quickly threw on clothes, got Karen up, and only made the taxi wait a couple of minutes. Good thing our passage was so smooth and we were mostly rested! Ashore they drove us to the immigration building and got our passports stamped, gave us our important “autografo” – which allows us to travel to three islands with Tahina – and other clearance papers, and collected their enormous fees. Galapagos has the highest paying entry fees of anywhere I’ve heard of. Unfortunately, catamarans are particularly hit hard because of the way ship weights are calculated (based on volume). We had to pay an enormous port captain fee of $257 in addition to the agent fee, national park fees ($100/person), clearance fees, immigration fees, etc. Totaling over $1000. Ouch! We were told the other port fees will be more nominal (6-12 dollars for each port clearing in and clearing out). And, there might be anchorage fees in Isabella.

Afterward, we had brunch at a local restaurant run by the agent’s brother. Service was fast, and the food was good and reasonably priced. We then found an Internet cafe. They only had one ethernet port for a laptop, and it was slow. The internet WIFI in the anchorage is run by the government, but it wasn’t working right. In fact, it only worked a few hours during the entire weekend. It also is heavily filtered and you can’t FTP or telnet. Karen said you can’t even run Farmville! Hopefully, we’ll find solutions to the Internet so we can get caught up.

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10 Responses to Weekend Arrival at the Galapagos

  1. anonymous says:

    wow thats cool have you seen any wild life?

  2. Grace says:

    YOU LOOKED LIKE KING NEPTUNE.THAT WAS AWESOME!!!!!!!

  3. Victoria says:

    What was the coolest place you stoped at and it’s really cool that your travling aroud the world… Do you ever miss your home or feel like you wanna come back? I think its AWESOME that you havent gave up:)

  4. carolina beach ellementry says:

    Hi this is b.h from 5th grade carolina beach ellemetry.I was wondering 3 things. How did you get a trampoline on your boat? And was it cool meeting the god of the sea? And was it weid and gooey when you got chrisend? ANd congradulations on crossing the border!XD (XD is a happy face)
    from;
    b.h 5th grade carolina beach ellementry

  5. madison says:

    kool congrats

  6. Auri says:

    You are doing really good on your expedition! You have gotten very far since the last time my class and I saw you at CBES. When you do come back from your trip around the world, it would be great if you would come back to our school. I bet tons of people in my class have plenty of question, including me! Be carful and have a great time!

  7. Devin says:

    hey whats up i saw that you passed miami FL well during spring break i went to key west FL i was wondering if you passed their the water their is just realy pritty anyway i amfrom carolina beach elininary school have fun :)!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. carolina beach ellementry says:

    Hi im from carolina beach ellementry 5th grade.
    I have 3 questions.
    Was it cool when you met the king of the sea?
    How did you get trampolines on yor boat?!
    Was it weird when you got chrisend?
    And congradulations on crossing the border!XD
    from;
    carolina beach ellementry 5th grade
    send response to:martyssister4ever@yahoo.com as soon as posible!
    bye

  9. ?!?! says:

    does it ever get boring?!?!?!?!?!??!?!?!?

  10. nanag says:

    I love reading the comments from the fifth grade class. Children are wonderful. Hope spelling improves, although I could use some help myself..I hated spelling in school.

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