After a very frustrating last 16 hours or so, trying to slow Bravo down to be sure of arriving after dawn, we finally dropped anchor this morning at around 6:30 in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno on Isla San Cristobal. Our agent for Galapagos paperwork, Bolivar Pesantes, promptly showed up via water taxi and came aboard to begin the entry ritual. He did his part, checking our papers and ensuring all was in order, left and showed up again an hour later with 5 others in tow...2 from the national park, 1 from the agricultural agency, the port captain, and a sidekick and dive guide Patricio. We all squeezed into the cockpit (actually the 2 from the park service quickly dove down into the cabin to look into all cupboards and lockers for "contraband", whatever that may have included). They got a bit of a rise out of a string of drying jungle tea leaves we got in the Amazon, but Patricio was disappointed when we explained that no, it was not coca.
After all was completed the crew except Bolivar and Patricio took off, and we went over our total of Galapagos fees, all payable to Bolivar, and lots of itinerary options. Fees to visit the Galapagos are high, but not as much as have been charged to some boats in past years. All in, all done, it came to around $1300 for the 4 of us, including the $100/person park fee. Lots of small miscellaneous charges added up, but will allow us up to 8 weeks here. An agent is a requirement for boats to visit the Galapagos, and Bolivar seems like a really good guy. Should be a big help in figuring out how best to explore the archipelago. He or one of his people will meet us to check us in at each island that we visit.....nice.
All in all, it felt terrific to be here. It was a wonderful passage, averaging about 150 miles per day, on calm seas, with a large, not quite full moon making for bright night watches. Puerto Baquerizo Moreno is touristy, but without too heavy a hand. Seems to retain some small town Galapagos charm, in spite of the gaggle of tour boats surrounding us in the anchorage. Will start exploring tomorrow, and see what we come up with.