Sunday, February 25, 2018

San Cristobal, Galapagos Island 1

February 25 - March  4 17, 2018

San Cristobal

After a five day sail from Panama, Element and her crew arrived at our first Galapagos island, San Cristobal.

In preparation of our arrival, we had the girls watch the David Attenborough Galapagos documentaries. Of course these documentaries show the pristine spots, and hardly ever the grime. As we pulled into the anchorage and dropped the hook, Paige and I were especially disheartened and sad at the site of the dirty water. Later, once we got to land, San Cristobal redeemed herself and her beauty.

While visiting the Galapagos, be prepared to always take a water taxi as it is "illegal" to use your own dinghy. The cost per trip is $1.00 - $2.00 USD per person per trip. Over time it does add up. In doing research for diving we learned that if you wanted to go up to Wolf or Darwin to dive, you need to be on a live aboard vessel, which costs thousands of dollars. These are the islands where there are whale sharks.

The water front area in San Cristobal is very nice with plenty of shops that are selling the touristy items. If you are looking to buy shirts, hats, headbands etc..... San Cristobal is the least expensive of the 3 islands that we visited. We kicked ourselves for not buying the items there.

Laundry was very reasonable here and we took full advantage of their services. There are many shops that have a fairly good range of groceries. If you plan on traveling to Isabela, make certain you have provisions, as they are extremely limited.

The sign over the dock.

Our first encounter with the famous marine iguanas on land.
A smaller sea lion chilling on the walkway.
Here is a cousin to Godzilla.
One of the favourite spots for the sea lions to lay, the benches on the dock.
Another favourite places for the sea lions was on the transom of the boat. We thought it was cute at first, until the smell and staining was left. We made it our goal to get them off the boat as quickly as possible. They are sneaky and surprisingly quiet when getting on board.
Our first Galapagos brewed beer.
Yoga and yawning.
I love the adorable face, that includes a heart shaped nose.
Lava lizards a so beautiful.
The stunning red crabs.
Manuel, Naddia and I decided to go on a hammerhead shark dive out at kicker rock. We went with a third party company to keep the cost down, and this was a mistake. Their equipment was terrible.

I would strongly suggest experience for this particular dive. I had 17-18 dives under my belt and was told that I could do this dive. There was a lot of swell and the decent was to be quick. I had never dove in a situation like this. It was my most challenging dive and I ended up running out of air. This scared me! Luckily, I was able to see some scalloped hammerheads before having to ascend.

Departing for our hammerhead dive. Definitely, not for beginners like myself who haven't mastered quick descents and buoyancy. I ended up running out of air and having to cut the dive short. 
I did see scalloped hammerhead sharks!
Also during our visit to San Cristobal, we went on a day tour and visited, El Junco, an old caldera, a tortoise sanctuary, Puerto Chino (a beach), and a treehouse in one of the largest Ceibo trees in the area.

The beginning of the walk.
Part way up.

The rock overlooking the old calder that is now a lake.

Heading around the caldera on a short walk.
Can you spot the birds?

tortoise den
I am in awe!

The walk to the beach.
The lovely beach. We ended up swimming with a sea lion in the waves.
The path back.
Our reward!

the treehouse
looking down
Looking up from the basement.
The climb up from outside.
Throughout our time in San Cristobal, we saw some lovely sights and lovely creatures.

Here is a bust sculpture of Charles Darwin.
Giant tortoise sculpture.
Lovely flowers. 
One of the many herons.
Under water shot of the marine iguana.
Art made from garbage collected in the sea.
the seals cuddling on the beach in town

Follow our video adventures on our YouTube channel: Video adventures of s/v Element

Follow us on Instagram: Element Instagram photos