Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Cruising costs $$$

You may notice a new feature on the blog!

On the right side, below our picture, is a new series of Google Ads. We've discovered that we're spending more than we had originally budgeted, and we're looking for ways to make money as we travel. I'm doing some contract work. John is selling his body (kidding). But seriously, our blog is getting good readership, so we thought we'd try to post a few ads. If you feel like clicking on an ad once in a while, we'd sure appreciate it!!

(Multiple clicks aren't necessary - one click per visit is all that we will be compensated for).

Passage Preparations

For Dom's final day in Santa Cruz, we wandered around the Charles Darwin Centre - with it's tortoise breeding program and giant enclosures that let you wander around with the big beasts! We saw several different species, but had trouble finding Lonesome George - the last of his species. It was interesting, although very similar to the breeding centre that we had already visited on San Cristobel Island.

After our usual Almuerso (lunch special), John wasn't feeling well and returned to the boat, so Dom and I jumped in a cab, and went off to explore the lava tubes. Our taxi driver served as our tour guide, and took us about 25 minutes out of town to a private farm where we were directed to don rubber boots in order to stampede through the mucky farm in search of more
tortugas. We only saw one, but we didn't mind, we had seen many tortoises already on this trip. The highlight for us was wandering through the enormous lava tubes, formed by the lava flowing within hardened volcanic rock creating tunnels that were often 10 feet wide and up to 40 feet high. Only one time did we have to crawl on our hands and knees in order to creep under an unusually low overhang to pop out the other side. Our guide/driver was wise enough to drop us at one side of the tunnel, and pick us up at the far side, some 15 minutes later. Although there were a couple of tour buses also looking for tortoises on the farm, we felt lucky to be the only
visitors to the lava tubes.

We celebrated Dom's last night with lobster dinner on the malecon, and we were sad to see him leave the following morning. He's been a great crew - standing watches with us, cooking, cleaning, easy going, and hasn't even had too much trouble adapting to cruiser's midnight...usually around 9pm. (We used to laugh about that too...but you really are tired out here!)

Now we're working on our final preparations before we set off again on our next passage, to the Marquesas, approximately 3000 miles from here. We have arranged for fuel and water to be delivered to the boat tomorrow (Thursday), so we expect that we'll be ready to leave Thursday night, or Saturday morning, after all...a very old mariners' superstition dictates that you never begin a voyage on a Friday!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Arrived at Isla Santa Cruz

For our final day at Isla Isabela, we rented bikes and rode up to the Muro de los Lagrimes - the Wall of Tears. Many years ago, the island was used for a penal colony, and the inmates were forced to build this enourmous wall with severe consequences for working too slow or stepping out of line in any way. The wall was huge, and must have been extremely difficult to build. There were viewpoints and a freshwater swimming hole along the way, so we enjoyed our morning trek.

Dom has introduced us to the fabulous Almuerso...or the lunch special. Essentially this is a set menu with juice, soup of the day, and a main course with fish or meat, rice and beans or salad. And all for $3 or 4. For that price, we can't usually be bothered to cook on the boat!!

Our trip to our third Island in the archipelago, Isla Santa Cruz, was uneventful. We left before daylight, and followed our GPS trail back out of the harbour, under the light of the moon. We took turns napping, keeping watch, avoiding the rain showers, and arrived at sunny Puerto Ayora in mid-afternoon. After a brief siesta, we went ashore in search of our agent...and to check in with the Port Captain. After a couple of failed attempts we were told to return in the morning.

We spent the rest of the afternoon exploring town, and bought a lovely piece of albacore tuna for dinner. Sushimi again for dinner!!