Got an update from a friend who recently departed the Galapagos
and thought I would pass it on. It has some interesting info if you are planning on heading that way and some day-dreaming seeds if you are deskbound!
I did edit a couple of words for spelling and to remove his name...
Original content is in tact!
You want DETAILS????!!!!?????
According to the NEW Ecuadorian rules, every yacht clearing into the country MUST have an agent---$$$--then you must get the proper permits to visit the Galapagos
and also pay 100.00 Per Person for a National Park Permit
With this in mind we contacted an agent and asked about the fees
and charges to get what they call the Autografo that allows you to stay in Galapagos for 30 days and visit 5 ports
. He responded and we sent him US$875.00 for all the stuff. When we arrived he said he can not do Autografos any longer as thew rules had changed---only 20 days and 1 port. No hardship there. He took the passports and said the magic words---DONT WORRY ABOUT NYTHING: When it was time to clear out he presented us with bill for US$1300.00 and no mention of the original 875.00---.Then he stopped meeting us. He would schedule a meeting and then not be there but his assistant was told to collect the 1300.00. I finally left a message with his assistant that if he missed tomorrows meeting they would have to look for him at the bottom of the harbor.
In the end it turns out that he had NEVER cleared us into the country, never purchased the park permits, fumigation certificate etc. He intended to pocket the original 875 PLUS the 1300.00. On our arrival and first meeting he met “me”, the small boat voyager in love with the world and his fellow man. On the last meeting he ran slam into “ME” from NY and he never knew what hit him---in more ways than one. We got our clearance but I am certain it was forged because it does not look like anyone
else's zarpe. He dated the entry and the exit the same day and the Port Captains signature was different but we did get receipts for all park fees
etc so we KNOW he did not pocket the money
. We also got the adjustment for the original 875.00. He told me that he had no real interest in dealing with cruisers so ME--I said--"Johnny, This is your lucky day! I am a genie and have the power to grant your request. Just listen to the HF radio
net tomorrow morning at 08:00 and your wish will be granted”.
And the next morning I went onto the net at high power (1200 plus miles) and told the story to the world which was instantly corroborated by another boat on passage
that had the same experience with him. He blustered and stuttered---"hats not what i meant!" I said but that is what I meant. He was not happy but I said to him HEY look at the bright side---you are sill alive!
So all is well that ends well.
Today was a bit boisterous...20 knots---it just calmed down. yesterday was a trial---I just woke up to take the watch at 05:00 and took a direct hit from the tiller right in my eye---knocked the lens out of my glasses and broke the frame----and that as at 05:00---wont tell you about the rest of it.
Today--one of our brand new GS units stopped receiving----oh well. One works one does not. Did I ever say "I AM SOOOOOO SORRY THAT I BOUGHT A GARMIN
?" I have broadcast That one on the net as well. Glad I have the sextant
maker is working fine for the present.
So, what sort of details do you need? IF you are planning on a trip to the Galapagos, and you should, the only detail you need is: DO NOT USE JOHNNY ROMERO AS YOUR AGENT---use Ricardo instead. When you decide on a firm plan let us know and we will give you more details. It is NOT as complicated nor as expensive s you might think...although you WILL spend a bit of money
on some tours but no outrageously so. Also---You cant get there from where you are---you will have to get to at least Costa Rica--otherwise its far too much windward work. The people are friendly. The restaurants are quite affordable. We saw absolutely NO evidence of crime, beggars, pick pockets etc. NO ONE locks their 15 speed mountain bikes etc. The only criminal out there is Johnny Romero---OOOOHHHH BABY is he a SMOOOTH TALKER be warned.
We are into day 7 of the passage
and all is going well. No complaints. Beam reach, wind
between 8 and 15 sometimes 20. These trades are nowhere near as wild and rugged as the Caribbean
trades. These are quite nice. Making 120 mile days.