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We work as ecotourism guides (as well as biologist and boat captain) often on the BC Coast, but also as far ranging as the Arctic and Antarctic. We have an insatiable curiousity for the planet; all its hidden gems and what makes them tick. That and our love of sailing is what inspired us to sail around the Pacific in Narama, our tough and pretty little sailboat.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Isla Isabela, Galapagos

We had a very calm over night passage from San Cristobal and arrived in Puerto Villamil heralded by a stream of penguins. They swam around the boat as we sounded the anchorage and immediately had us giggling. I contend that penguins are the answer to world peace – simply put all the world leaders in the presence of cavorting penguins and no one could possibly think about war. Everyone needs time with penguins! We certainly never grew tired of them. Over the 10 days we stayed in Villamil everyday at some point a few would swim after fish under the boat and we could don mask and jump in to watch them! We tried hard to get a photo, but they are so fast under water that the results were limited.

We had lots to keep us busy and the time seemed to pass too quickly in this protected anchorage. We rented bikes and rode out to the “Wall of Tears” which is a huge monument built of lava rocks by convicts in the 40’s. We found that the wall itself wasn’t as interesting as the journey, with lots of viewpoints and wetlands to stop and explore and tortoises wandering slowly along the road. On another occasion we took a horseback excursion to the top of Sierra Negra Volcano, the second largest caldera in the world. We did lots of swimming and snorkeling to keep cool and enjoyed the wildlife on walks to the tortoise breeding centre and flamingo ponds.
On the rim of Volcan Sierra Negra Caldera
Although this is the most protected anchorage that our permit allows, there is a paucity of yachts. Perhaps it is the level of bureaucratic toil required that dissuades more visitors. We had many visits to port captains and spent time waiting for paperwork to materialize every time we wanted to leave, or when we arrived in a harbour, but felt that it was worth the time we had to see this amazing place at our own pace.
We enjoyed getting to know the crews of ‘Pipstrelle’ and ‘Pacific Bliss’ and Heidi even managed a natural history lesson for the kids!

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