We had a pleasantly uneventful 85 nautical mile transit from San Cristobal to Isla Isabela night before last. The glittering tiara of Banquerizo Moreno faded away behind us before any but the frailest glimmer of civilization came into view ahead and we motored through a moonless night, the star spangled sky offering us our only hint of horizon. The Southern Cross has become our new guide as the Big Dipper seems to have lost its pole star.
I had the sunrise watch. With some apprehension I peered to the north as the vague predawn hinted at shadows of islands to the right of our course. We navigate with some confidence using the iNavX program on my iPad, but it doesn’t pay to take that sort of thing too much for granted in this part of the world. In the South Pacific even the electronic versions of some charts trace their most recent ancestor back a century or more.
Everything has turned out to be where it was supposed to be in our experience so far within the Galapagos archipelago and this continued to be so as we slipped past within a mile of the crescent shaped Isla Tortuga to make our penultimate turn into Puerto Villamil at the bottom of Isabela. A manta ray boasting an eight or ten foot wingspan was our welcoming party.
Once again we found our friends on Stella Polaris waiting for us in the anchorage. After greeting them, luxuriating in nice, cool salt water showers on the foredeck and getting into fresh clothes, we called un taxi acuatico for a ride to shore.
I gather we were spoiled by the professionalism and boat handling skills of the water taxi drivers in Baquerizo Moreno. Not only did we have to impose on official favors to get a taxi out to Mabrouka, when it showed up the driver proceeded to knock my solar panels about and couldn’t keep the bow of his panga in one spot for boarding. That resulted in Roger straddling the bay between two diverging gunwhales, eventually toppling over. Thankfully he went into the panga instead of the water and suffered only a barked shin. The young man driving the taxi seemed to take no note whatsoever of either event. Well, we can use our dinghy here and will do so from now on.
We walked into town and had a nice chat with our agent’s representative at his wife’s restaurant, the Booby Trap, picking his brain over beers for tourist activities and available services. Isabela promises some really nice exploring. Lisa’s off for a rappelling adventure this morning while Roger and I have a untouristic day on the boat and the bay. Stay tuned.