130314 - Our Final Few Days in Galapagos

Monday 10th:

140301 9 Our trusty aircraft Emetebe

Step 1 for us was to return from San Cristobal to Isla Isabela. On arrival at the airport with our luggage and now an additional box of fans for Andante the look on the check in ladies face sort of said it all - oh no! Thankfully they accepted our additional box and we paid our excess baggage due of $35 USD but then the rest of the travellers and their baggage arrived I truly couldn't see where it was all going to fit. The nine seater had exactly that nine passengers and the pilot certainly did not instill much confidence in us when he rechecked the luggage weight then began weighing some passengers. We certainly were happy when after some effort the plane slowly lifted off the ground then landed equally successfully 45 minutes later in Isabela.

140310 6 Isla Isabela The taxi ride back to the harbour

Taxi services were limited from the airport so rather than waiting and risking sitting in the sun for another two hours we jumped into the back of the one and only taxi along with other passengers. No travelling first class today - the seats inside were already taken.
Thankfully the road from the airport to town is bitumen - the only stretch that we have seen on the island before returning to dirt in the centre of the town. We were "Home" back onboard Andante.

Tuesday 11th:

140311 18 Isla Isabela Villamil Farm Shopping

Fresh Produce Collection Day. In the morning we headed for a farm in the highlands by the name of Los Tintos for vegetables. At a cost of $25 USD for the taxi driver we drove out of town past the sprawling lava fields that look like a volcano had only recently erupted and settled, into the lush rainforest vegetation of the highlands. The farming family live in modest dwellings - one "house" for sleeping and an outside kitchen area where the produce is weighed and sold. We walked the fields with the farmer with his machete in hand and literally pointed, picked, tasted and pocketed into our shopping bags. Even the eggs came straight out from under one of the chooks. Can't get fresher than that. 

Wednesday 12th:

140312 6 Day Trip to Santa Cruz from Isabela Our ferry Gladel140312 8 Day Trip to Santa Cruz from Isabela Our cozy corner

In search of elusive carrots, brown onions and cash Andrew and I opted to head for Santa Cruz onboard the "Fast Ferry". As with everything in these islands what something is called or looks like in a brochure and what it is in reality can turn out to be very different. Gladel our boat was around 35 feet long, a passenger capacity of 24 and three 250    horse power engines for propulsion. 

We were joined on the ferry by fellow Aussies Inge and Rocky (WA) off Island Girl and Bronny and Jeoff (QLD) off Villa Del Mar. The 45 mile journey takes around 2 and a half hours at a cost of $35 USD one way. However there is an additional charge - the local taxi driver - in Isabela he charges $1 USD to take you out to the boat, in Santa Cruz 50c. Entreprenarial.

140312 11 Day Trip to Santa Cruz from Isabela Lee Jeff and Bronny from Villa De Mar140312 13 Day Trip to Santa Cruz The interior

The trip to Santa Cruz was successful for the purchase of a bilge pump sensor for Andante but unfortunately unsuccessful for the purchase of the elusive carrots, brown onions and extraction of cash from the bank. One must be thankful for the diligence of banks but when both our Australian accounts did not work due to the bank thinking it might be fraudulent activity then it was frustrating - particularly as we had advised we would be in the area. Just as well we are going to be at sea for the next few weeks and hopefully there will be operational ATMs on the other side of the Pacific. 

The return trip was Santa Cruz saw Aussie numbers swell to eight onboard as two young Australian girls from Sydney happen to be heading for Isabela. Protecting ones seat in the back area also proved challenging on the return trip as locals attempted unsuccessfully to bottom shove Lee across, once the chaos of boarding and seat ownership was over we had a reasonably comfortable return trip - as comfortable as a cramped seat with horse power in your ear and the odd air born pounding can be. We arrived back into the harbour some ten hours after our early departure in the morning. 

140312 14 Isla Isabela Villamil Dinner with fellow Aussie Sailors

Our final dinner in Isabela was spent in the company of ten other Australians all on their own boats and heading home to Australia including Tolly and Jas on Le Mistral. Of the twenty boats here in harbour we estimate 50% are Aussie. The food and service at the restaurant was somewhat atrocious but the company more than made up for it.
Tomorrow we depart Isabela as do many of the boats heading across a very big paddock to the Marquesas. Just 3000 nm to go. 

(Click for more photos of our last days in the Galapagos)

© SV Katherine 2018      Cover Photo: Katherine on Anchor Isle Tabarca Spain