Last Days in the Galapagos

Ross

07 April 2010 | San Cristobal

After diving at Leon Dormido, we had done mostly everything on San Cristobal that we were interested in. On Saturday morning, we went to the market to provision for the trip. There is surprisingly quite a few farmers on the island and the prices weren’t terrible. We got there early enough to beat most of the other cruisers to the greenest tomatoes and bananas. On Saturday night, some girls that we had met on the island were performing with their salsa/tango group at the little club on the island. It was a great show and afterwards we invited some of our friends out to the boat for a little going away party which was a blast. The next morning, a few girls we had met from Wisconsin that were doing research on the island swung out to the boat to check it out and it turns out that they knew a few of my high school classmates small world. Sunday night, we noticed that the famous wave at Carola was getting pretty big, so Alex, Pauno, and I took the dinghy to check it out. The wave was incredible and was actually barreling. In order for a wave to form a barrel that can be ridden, the stars really have to align. The direction of the swell, the contour of the reef, and the wind all have to be perfect and even when this happens, it still takes an expert to catch the wave and get in the right position. There were quite a few people trying to catch the wave and since Alex and I aren’t pros, we decided to go to the edge of the wave and just ride the small waves. The problem is that when waiting for the small waves, the current is constantly pulling you towards the rocks where the big waves will break and throw you into them, so you constantly have to be adjusting your position. We both took a shot and failed miserably. We’d be in pretty good position for the small waves and the next thing we knew it, a wave the height of a house and hundreds of feet wide would be barreling down on us. Both of us were pinned under for a bit, which is normal for surfers, but for us it was close enough to drowning that we decided to leave this wave to the pros. We were hoping to leave Sunday evening for Isabela, but fell a bit behind schedule running errands and calling home. I wanted to get some good shots with my SLR camera of the wave and it was supposed to be bigger than what we had previously seen. We woke up early and had some buddies meet us at the boat (Juan de Dios Morales IV, Maxmillian, and Diego). We took the dinghy out and quickly noticed that we weren’t the only ones who knew the wave was going to be big. Alex and I stayed in the dinghy and he drove while I snapped shots of the surfers. At one point, I was in the dinghy and was trying to get a picture of a surfer in the wave and nearly had the dinghy flipped by the wave. Some of the shots that we got were amazing. One of the guys that was there paddled over and was talking about how long he’d been surfing for and even on this island and how this was possibly the best waves he’d ever seen. The search for extra crew to cross the pacific was still on. We were still trying to convince Pauno to leave the waves here and come with us, but after he saw how great Carola was there was no way we’d be able to get him off the island. We had spoken with an Italian couple and both of them were super excited to do the crossing. They were pretty serious about getting the experience so much that the guy had just cut off his dreads that he’d been growing for 5 years to look more professional, and both of them claimed to be great cooks, so we asked them to come aboard. The only detail we had to work out was getting their flights changed to take them out of French Polynesia which happens to be the most expensive place in the world to fly out of. Due to the Easter Holiday, they wouldn’t be able to talk to their travel agent until Tuesday, so we decided to head for Isabela and once they found out if they could change their flights, they could meet us there. We also had met a local guide who said he’d come with us as well. He was a super cool guy and since his job required him to spend weeks on a boat at a time, we thought he’d work too. He wouldn’t be able to leave until Friday, so if the French couple didn’t work out, we had a back up.

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