Sunday, January 06, 2013

Floreana Island, Post Office Bay, Cormorat’s Point

Floreana Island
Baroness Lookout
6:00 Wet landing with sandals
7:00 Back on Board
7:15 Breakfast

Post Office Bay
8:30 Wet landing – Sandals, post cards, no yellow clothes due to wasps, snorkeling
10:30 Back on board 

Devil’s Crown
11:00 Snorkeling off of the dinghy
12:00 Back on board
12:15 Lunch

Cormorat’s Point
13:00 Wet landing, sandals, green beach
14:00 Back on board – Sail to Puerto Ayora
19:00 Briefing and then dinner

Anchors ahoy, matey! With the anchor noises starting early on, it is difficult to sleep soundly past 4am, for me anyway. We left our last destination at 8:30pm last night, arriving at the new one by 4am.  Couldn’t they have left later and arrived later, I ask you? Apparently, there were never any indigenous people on any of the Galapagos Islands. The point of this stop for those of us who wanted to get up early and be ready to leave the boat by 6am, was to view the sunrise from Baroness Lookout.

As the story goes, the first to arrive to settle on this island was a German who sent for his wife once he decided to stay; he was followed by another German family and eventually by an Austrian Baroness. Long story short, the first two German families got on quite well, but the Baroness held a grudge when the German doctor would not care for her during a pregnancy. That ended any camaraderie and started the competition for the newly mushrooming tourism trade; each family built a lookout to spot the boats as they approached so they could be first in the harbor to greet them. The Baroness had the edge as she built a hotel close to the harbor, while the others had their accommodations further inland. When they spotted a boat, it took them longer to get to the boats’ passengers.

Once on land, we walked up a rocky hill without cutout steps like mountain goats to the base of the lookout. There were wooden steps up to this non-descript lookout tower that didn’t even offer a spectacular view this morning. Sun was hiding behind his friends the clouds and refused to show his face thwarting one of our objectives for being there in the first place. Ron made an interesting observation that passed me by entirely. On this entire yacht with both passengers and crew, we are the only native English speakers, yet the entire tour is in English. It really seemed so natural until he mentioned it, then it really struck me as unusual.

Back on the ship, we had a great breakfast of cheese omelets with fresh fruit, before going ashore once more. More interesting than the lookout was Post Office Bay. Started centuries ago, there is a wooden box that resembles an oversized birdhouse. There people left postcards for loved ones when they could not get to a real post office. The next people to come along, would check to see if there was any mail for the country they were going to and they would take it to pass on to the rightful recipient. For those of us wishing to, we were to bring postcards to ‘mail’ by leaving them here. We as a group scanned about 250 postcards to see which were destined for the country we were returning to and then asked to deliver them in some way. There were two from Hungary, one in Budapest. We took them and will get them delivered to the person waiting for them. 

While on the same island, those who chose to went snorkeling from the beach. Neither of us chose to. After everyone returned, another ship had come in. Their crew and our crew were going to play a soccer match for an hour and a half. Most of our crew only gets one day off every 7 days; others only get one day off every fourteen days. Some of the younger men joined the crew and played. Our team won 2-1.

After coming back on board, most of the group were readying for another go at snorkeling; this time around Devil’s Crown, but we stayed on board. I borrowed a bucket and washed some clothes. We have not had hot water for 2 days, because of a broken pipe, so the cold water wash worked fine. Hanging the shirts and pants on the clothes line on the upper deck, the wind is so fierce; there was a need for half a dozen clothespins for each item. However, the humidity is high, so they are not drying as fast as I thought they would.

Lunch was served. For me and two others, there was a stuffed pepper. The others had fish. There were also potatoes and salad. Different dishes are loaded with cheese, tasty, but binding. For dessert today, all the others received a baked apple dripping in syrup. Rather than having to say “No, thank you!” yet again, the server placed a whole pear standing on end on a plate. At the top was a small slice from the bottom and held into place with a toothpick to simulate a hat. The side of the pear had eyes, nose and mouth cut out with bits of green colored pineapple to make a silly face. Quite accommodating!

We are sailing now on our way to Cormorat’s Point. There we had another wet landing on a lovely beach. The sands here are so fine, they seem like they could dissolve in hot water like sugar crystals. Following a trail, Omar explained different things along the way. Most of these tidbits of knowledge are lost ten minutes after they pour from his mouth, mostly because while he is talking we notice a new bird or see a colorful iguana that captures our attention at the moment.

A lovely trail provided some aerobic excise using stepping skills on more rocks, to finally following the curvy path down to Green Beach, so aptly named because 1 in 5,460 specks of sand are green like little emeralds. How they ever discovered this far-fetched fact is beyond my imagination at the moment. The saving grace other than another glorious view was the sea turtles on the beach. Some were relaxing after having nested with their eggs, while others were doing the nasty deed in the water without any regard to fifteen pairs of eyes watching their doing the sexual acrobatics. 

Our sailing to the next point will take 4 ½ hours. It is very choppy, so the ride is a rough one. Trying to nap to make up for lost nighttime sleep is another failure as the door curtain blows open letting the light peak in. Putting a towel over it only works for a short while until the sway of the boat untangles it from the curtain rod sending it to the floor. 

Dinner was wonderful lasagna with a brown sauce. It was excellent to the point that the two Italians at our table delighted over it as well. The problem with buffet meals is that it is difficult for me to be moderate at times. My dessert tonight was some fruit I had never had sliced in half and made into a mouse using the stem as the tail. Another little flourish. 

Tomorrow, all of the Finns and the two Danes will leave. They only signed up for the five day trip. We have shared our dinner table with the Danes and the Italians. We will miss them especially. We have enjoyed everyone on board, passengers and crew alike.

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