Saturday, 16 February 2019
Preparing to visit the Galapagos Islands
Ecuadorians work very hard to look after this unique archipelago and to
protect it as far as possible from the impact of humans, balancing this
need with allowing visitors to come and see its wonders.
The World ARC team have taken on the administration of our visit to
make it as simple as possible for us. But it still feels like preparing
for a test!
Crew lists have to be submitted months in advance, with 5 paper copies
(at least one in colour) of each crew member's passport. The ARC team
apply for cruising permits which allow us to visit 3 designated
anchorages within the island group.
We have been extensively briefed about the rules and regulations that
apply to visiting yachts. We have to make sure that the hull of the
boat is squeaky clean, and it will be inspected by divers on our arrival
to check that nothing is growing there. If it fails inspection we have
to turn around immediately and leave Galapagos waters (50 miles
offshore) to clean the hull and then return. Best avoided.
This photo shows Tintin being fumigated to make sure there are no bugs
on board. Every visiting yacht needs to show a recent certificate of
We also need to make sure we carry no prohibited food items on board, to
protect the ecosystem there. Most fresh fruit and veg is banned, no
fresh milk or cheese, no eggs or meat, and the list goes on... no
bovine sperm either!
We are expected to use only ecologically friendly detergents, fair
enough. Buy shares in Ecover.
On board we are expected to use 3 rubbish bins, each labeled
appropriately, for organic/recycling/non recyclable. We have been given
signs to stick by our oil stores (Contaminated items!), by the heads
(do not discharge the holding tank within 3 miles of shore!), and in the
cockpit (do not throw rubbish overboard!).
It is great to see that protection of the environment is taken so
Upon arrival, we need to hoist the quarantine flag under our Ecuador
courtesy flag. We have to stay on board and await inspection by a team
of 5-6 officials. They are:
The Galapagos Agent
Port Captain & Navy
SICGAL - The Galapagos Inspection and Quarantine System
Health and Narcotics (!)
Galapagos National Park
And when all is done, we can go ahead and explore! Can't wait...