Starling has sailed 1/4 way around the world!
Arriving in Galapagos under sail is a real once in a lifetime moment. The green, volcanic shapes and black, lava formed coastline are unlike anywhere else I’ve visited. After a beautiful close reach across the equator we made landfall in the lovely town of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, on the island of San Cristobal.
After 8 different authorities visited the boat, including a diver who checked out hull for alien organisms, we were pronounced clean and allowed on shore. Angus’ final hull wipe before we arrived obviously did the trick! You don’t have to go very far to realise that nature is in charge. The sea lions lounge around as if they own the place, which, after all they do. They take up park benches, help themselves to sunny spots on the decks of anchored yachts and spread out on the pavements like over-fed labradors!
Sophia swiftly became our snorkeller in chief, bringing home tales of manta rays and turtles whilst I was still trying to stop my mask from steaming up. We’ve all now acquainted ourselves with the giant tortoises who are currently being reintroduced across the islands after their populations were plundered for lamp oil. They were also taken on board ships as emergency rations because they can survive for up to 18 months without food or water… Thankfully the tortoise breeding programmes are doing a good job of redressing the balance.
Yesterday we sailed ninety miles westwards and we are now sitting in a snug anchorage off Isabela, the biggest island of the archipelago. On the way we passed Isla Tortuga, a crescent shaped island which is the tip of an extinct volcano, and it gained the nickname ‘smiley island’ from Patrice and Felicity, which you’ll understand if you look at it on Google Maps!
There is so much to do here that everyone has made a beeline for the centre of town (which is one dirt track and a few travel agencies) to work out how many fumuroles, sulphur mines, penguins and hammerhead sharks we can fit into the next few days. At 91 degrees west we are now over a quarter of the way around the world, so despite the incredible things we’ve seen so far, there is still much more to come.