|Anchorage at Puerto Ayora: view from town|
|The fish market in downtown Puerto Ayora has an interesting customer|
While the port is cheerful and colorful, the anchorage in Academy Bay is crowded and rolly. The anchorage is open to the southerly swell. There are some lava reefs extending out into the harbor (though not nearly as many as on Isabela), and you can't anchor too close to shore for that reason. One advantage to the rolly anchorage is that you won't lose your sea legs while in port! We were lucky enough to arrive at a less crowded time and were able to find a decent spot to anchor; however, more boats arriving after our initial days in Santa Cruz left me wondering where we would anchor if we were just arriving. We had read that many people use a stern anchor in Academy Bay, and we found this to be good advice. We put out a stern anchor which helped significantly with the rolling. Be prepared to clean your bottom after leaving Academy Bay, because a healthy layer of slime (algae) will grow along the waterline (at least at this time of year).
We arrived at Puerto Ayora just before five p.m. and after anchoring, we tried to call our agent on the VHF to see if we would check in that day or the next morning. We received no response and decided to wait until the next morning. We called again the next morning and still received no response, so we water-taxied in and walked to the agent's office. We found no one there, but a kind neighbor told us the secretary was at the bank and would be back shortly. We took a walking tour of town to get the lay of the land and returned when the secretary was back. This time, both the secretary and a representative of our agent were in the office. (Our actual agent was on Baltra.) The agent's representative---Santiago---was the most helpful and business-like representative we dealt with from the agent's office, including the agent himself. Santiago arranged for us to check in. Later that afternoon, the Port Captain and a staff member from his office met Santiago and us at the boat. We were told they would need to inspect the vessel, but they were satisfied with the answers to some preliminary questions we had given to Santiago. These questions focused on a gear list and the number of people on board. The Port Captain of Puerto Ayora at this time is a friendly, personable individual; indeed, he is the only official we met who has made us feel welcome in the Galápagos.
|Port Captain's office, Puerto Ayora|
|School children on lava bridge|
|Children and travelers enjoying Las Grietas|
|Cliff jumper psyching up for the jump|