Today the sun rose over Argo as she entered the Galapagos. Flocks of shearwaters fluttered over the ocean’s surface and a super-pod of dolphins was jumping to starboard as we neared San Cristobal. We anchored at 0900 local time in preparation for our clearance into the Galapagos. We had to wait a few hours for the customs party, but we continued to be entertained by the wildlife. We had our first blue-footed booby sighting, and our first Galapagos sea lions as well. At on one point, a sea lion hopped out to sunbathe on the boat anchored next to us. The dog on board the vessel did not take kindly to this and proceeded to bark its head off. The sea lion was not impressed, nor intimidated.
At last, the customs party, and by party, I mean about 9 separate officials, showed up on board. The vessel and her crew were thoroughly inspected. We passed immigration, a safety inspection by the Port Captain, a bio-security inspection inside (he took our mango seeds but not our mangoes…), a bio-security inspection of the ships hull, and customs. It was the most thorough clearance process I have ever been a part of, but it’s all in the name of protecting these incredible islands, which we are privileged to visit. Fortunately, we passed all said inspections with flying colors.
Once we were cleared in, we got back underway to Isla Santa Cruz, where we will be passing most of our time in the Galapagos. Once underway it was time for our equator crossing initiation. We officially crossed the equator late last night, but we were due for a visit by King Neptune during daylight hours. Our crew, most of whom were pollywogs (someone who has not crossed the equator at sea), were made to stand trial before Neptune and make an offering in exchange for baptism as a Shellback (someone who has crossed the equator at sea). The ceremony was full of antics, funny costumes, and laughter. Most of the crew also chose to cut their hair (if not fully shave their head as is a tradition) to complete the experience.
It was an action-packed day and we will be sure to sleep well this evening, despite anticipation of the diving, island tours, and visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station that lie ahead.
Pictured: Group photo in the salon as pollywogs before the ceremony; Davy Jones, Neptune, and Aphrodite presiding over the ceremony; Jack taking a bath in the dirty dishy bucket; before and after of Sophie sacrificing her hair to Neptune; staff photo after the ceremony; Alexa, Amy, Steph, and Amanda with their offerings to Neptune.