Search for Food in the Galapagos

Published: June 28th 2011
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A simple task such as grocery shopping can become an adventure. As we anchor up in Baltra, a small volcanic island within the Galapagos chain, we are aware of our long voyage ahead. We have 2 days in the Galapagos and then a 15 day trek to the Marquesas. In preparation for the days ahead at sea the chef, chief stewardess and myself need to provision for the trip. And so our day begins….

We board our 19-foot inflatable tender and take a 20 minute boat ride to the largest of the islands in the chain, Santa Cruz. On the way over we pass sea lions brisking the water and pelicans dive-bombing for their breakfast feast. We find a small, desolate dock and jump off. Just the three of us on a Spanish speaking foreign rock. We use our basic Spanish knowledge – “Hola, taxi?”

An hour passes and we sit in the taxi enjoying the views of the island. The vegetation is lush green mixed with black volcanic rock. Birds are everywhere. We sit in silence – one of those moments where nothing needs to be said. When you find yourself in a new place a moment occurs when your appreciation is overwhelming. We are in the Galapagos and this feeling sets in for us all – an unspoken sense that as crew you come to know well.

As we near what seems to be a town you quickly realize the third world surroundings. Personally these are the places I love most. Life seems so simplistic; these children do not know video games but instead play soccer outside. The days are filled with fishing, snorkeling and family gatherings. The town is plain, driven mostly by its tourism for diving. The people are friendly, crime is almost non-existent.

Our taxi arrives at what looks like a small corner store. We jump out and hand motion for the driver to wait for us as we shop. The store which supplies most of the islands is no bigger than a gas station at a pit stop. As we float around searching for fresh fruits and vegetables, milk and other basic necessities we quickly realize we have missed the bi-weekly cargo shipments. We mostly stock up on cup-o-noodles and crackers as we hear through the grapevine seas are meant to be rough as we cruise out onto the big open Pacific.

Since we have already spent most of our day finding this local “supermercado” we quickly jump back into our taxi for our hour ride back to the local dock. We radio Odyssey but no response. Our radios are out of range. Stuck at the dock with our bags of provisions we motion for the local water taxi to take us from the dock back to our boat around the island and at anchor in the bay. Another hour ride in 3 foot swells. As the waves hit our small 4 person wooden canoe, it topples from side to side. A few times we feared tipping, worst part would be losing the food we just spent hours finding. But after a long rocky trip back, we made it home to Odyssey. We stowed all our findings and before the day was put to rest, a quick dip in the salty water to snorkel around with the sea lions.

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