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17 March, 2007

Galapagos to New Zealand

Aboard Iron Bark
Orongo Bay (35° 17' S, 174° 08' E)
Bay of Islands
Northland
New Zealand

17 February 2007

We arrived in New Zealand in early November, it’s nearly March and I still haven’t written about our passage across the Pacific. It’s about time I did, so here goes.
I last wrote from Galápagos and a wonderful place they were, too. Initially, Trevor was a bit reluctant to go there, because we’d heard stories about being charged high fees for entering and for permission to enter the National Park area. However, I had always wanted to see them. so in the end Trevor agreed that it would probably be money well spent. When we arrived in Wreck Bay on San Cristobal, we went over and had a yarn with Ron and Kathy on Vilisar, a Canadian wooden boat anchored nearby. They looked like a ‘low-budget operation’ and we guessed that they would know how to pay the minimum of fees. In fact they told us that if you only stayed a few days, the Authorities really didn’t seem to be worried about you and so long as you didn’t bother them, they wouldn’t bother you. This turned out to be the case insofar as we were concerned and when, a few days later, we were anchored of Villamil on Isabela, the harbour master actually went to the effort of warning the yachts that he intended to take a tour of the anchorage the following morning. We took the hint and left at first light the next day.
One of the pleasant surprises in Wreck Bay, was that the prices were very affordable. Indeed, more than affordable. Trevor and I went for lunch one day in a tiny restaurant, with only 2 tables. It was obviously a place used by the locals and was selling hamburgers, for which I get an overwhelming urge about once a year (but only for a real one). We went in and ordered one each, together with a large bottle of beer. Because nothing was made in advance, that bottle was about finished by the time the hamburgers came, so we ordered another beer to drink with them. This was a bit of an issue and the owner called down her son and packed him off down the street to buy one from a neighbouring bar, because she had no more left in the fridge! The hamburgers were large and delicious, complete with salad on the plate. When we came to settle up, the whole lot cost US$5.38. I was sure that we’d been undercharged and asked her to add it up again, but she was correct! We’d have ordered another beer, if she’d only had one ready, but felt that she couldn’t be making much profit on them!

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