Day 162, Year 1: Day Three on the Sulidae
Date: Tuesday, March 28, 2006
Weather: Clear Blue Skies and Hot
Windbird’s Location: Academy Bay, Puerto Ayoro, Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos
Sulidae’s Location: Leon Dormido and Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, San Cristóbal Island

First Stop: Leon Dormido, also known as Kicker’s Rock
Highlight: Sailing the Narrow Channel

During the night, the Sulidae motored to Wreck Bay, San Cristobal Island. When I woke up I looked out the window of our cabin and we were right beside our friends Doug and Sylvia on Windcastle. It was 0630, but we called to them and woke them up to say hello as we were leaving for Leon Dormido. We made arrangements to visit them later in the day and then off went the Sulidae. Leon Dormido, commonly known as Kicker’s Rock, looks like an ancient cathedral of rock rising out of the ocean. When we reached the rock, we “circumnavigated” checking out all sides carefully. There are a number of fissures in the rock, but there is one that is large enough to provide a channel that can be negotiated by a panga or narrow sailboat. The Sulidae was just the right size, and even though it was too rough for us to snorkel, we did motor through the channel. It was really something to see those rock walls that were on either side of us heading up into the sky. When we were almost through, the boat was thrown a little to one side and there was a tense moment as the Sulidae got herself back on course. The captain and crew were joyous when we emerged safely. We sat in wonder and just stared at the small channel for a few minutes and then headed around the rock to see all sides of it again. Once we had thoroughly examined this volcanic rock of tuff, off we went to Isla Lobos.

Second Stop: Isla Lobos
Highlight: Swimming with the Sea Lions

It took us about an hour to get back to Isla Lobos. This is a tiny island of basaltic rocks that is very close to shore. We took a quick walk across the island. On land we saw many iguanas and mating Blue-footed Boobies, but the real attraction was the number of sea lions. We headed back to the Sulidae to get ready to snorkel with these guys. This was really a treat. There were at least 25-30 sea lions and many were young pups. They are absolutely fearless. As you are snorkeling, they shoot straight toward you, look you in the eye, and then quickly veer off to avoid a head-on collision. As I was snorkeling, other sea lions would come from under me and look me in the eye. We were there in the water, belly to belly, and even though I’m not very acrobatic in the water, I would turn and they would turn; I would roll and they would roll. These little creatures invite you to dance with them and the invitation is irresistible. I think Mark, Heather, Jed, and I will remember this snorkel for the rest of our lives as a very special experience.

Third Stop: Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, San Cristobal Island
Highlight: A Visit to Town and a Visit with Windcastle

Puerto Baquerizo Moreno is a sleepy little town that is changing rapidly from old wooden houses to more modern concrete buildings. It is obviously awakening to its ecotourism possibilities. There is a lot of construction on the waterfront and it appears that they are building a “welcome center” something like the one in Puerto Ayora. Mark and I went into town to walk around while others stayed on the boat and read, and then we met them at the Interpretation Center later in the afternoon. The Interpretation Center is an information center on human and natural history and it has wonderful paths that wind down to the water and through the arid zone. One path takes you to the spot where they think Charles Darwin first landed in the Galapagos. Another takes you to a viewing tower and others lead you through the arid landscape and back to the Center. We met the rest of the group and toured the Interpretation Center, and then Mark and I headed back to town. There are taxis here, but not nearly as many as in Puerto Ayoro. Puerto Baquerizo Moreno is the political capitol of the Galapagos, but it is not the hub of activity. That prize goes to Puerto Ayoro.

When we got back to town, Mark and I got a water taxi out to Windcastle. It was great to visit with them and make arrangements to meet them in Isabella. Just as the sun was going down, we looked in the water over towards the Sulidae and saw two people swimming. Since it was getting dark, we wondered who it was, but soon became evident that it was Heather and Jed swimming over to say hello. They “landed” successfully and we then all said our farewells and headed back to the Sulidae. During the evening, the Sulidae picked up anchor and headed to Espanola. Tomorrow we will visit Gardner Bay and then move around to Punta Suarez for the afternoon. Espanola is the southern most island in the Galapagos and we are anxious to experience the wildlife found there.

060328 Day 162a Galapagos Tour Day 3–Isla Lobos
060328 Day 162b Galapagos Tour Day 3–Leon Dormido
060328 Day 162c Galapagos Tour Day 3–San Cristobal