April 1st to May 1st
The passage from Panama to the Galapagos took us across the Equator and through the Doldrums (We have been reminded of the tattoos we, as sailors, should now have done). Being allowed into the Galapagos is a complicated and stressful business. The hardest part is ensuring the hull is free of any invasive species. Having the boat cleaned in Panama is mandatory but insufficient. It is also essential to stop just before arriving and dive to re-clean the hull. Doing this without scuba gear, mid-ocean was a challenge. Fortunately we passed the hull inspection.
Our 'autografo' permit allowed us to drop anchor three times in specified locations. Access to dive sites, other parts of the islands was only permitted using a licensed boat with a guide on board. This, together with the autografo, makes it an expensive stop. (Annick and I spent $1700 for park and agent fees to get in, $500 to prepare the boat, $2000 for guided trips and diving over 24 days).
We visited San Cristobal, Isla Isabela and finally Santa Cruz. Geographically, the order is strange. But, if you wish to leave westward from Isabela, then there is an additional $150 fee to get an immigration officer to come to Isabela to stamp passports. Santa Cruz is also better to provision for the 3000nm voyage to Marquesas.
Enjoy the pictures and remember to double-click to get the explanation