Ibarra to Guayaquil to Baltra, Galapagos 1 January

Efficient refuelling stop in Guayaquil


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In Ecuador (as in Panama), it is the custom to make a life-size rag doll which is generally seated on a bench in the garden until New Year’s Eve when they burn it at midnight, to purge themselves of the old year and bring in the new. Sometimes they give the doll a mask, resembling the incumbent president or another unpopular politician.  True to tradition, the Rancho Carolina where we were staying had its doll in the garden.  Since we had to get up early on the first day of the new year to fly to the Galapagos, we didn’t stay up till midnight so we missed the burning ceremony, but we saw the ashes in the drive the next morning.  In fact, the taxi drove over them.

There were low clouds around as we drove to the small airport just after 8 a.m., and we wondered if, ironically, we’d have to delay our departure.  But there was just a little hole at the right place for a VFR climbout an hour later when we were ready for take-off. After an hour and a half’s flight, most of it VFR on top, we landed at Guayaquil (near the coast).  Although Guayaquil is a large international airport, it has a special terminal for general aviation.  We therefore got quick, efficient service and an hour later we were fueled up and ready to leave for the Galapagos. In addition to filling up all four wing tanks (88 US gallons), we filled up a 5 US gallon jerrycan we had purchased in Panama City to improve our reserves for the round trip to Baltra as no Avgas is available in Baltra. This was our longest flight over the ocean since we had crossed the Atlantic, but there was no weather to worry about this time and we landed at Baltra 4 and a half hours later.

The airport was deserted in the late afternoon as all the scheduled flights for the day had already departed some hours before.  Our main worry had been whether we would find anyone to drive us to the capital, Puerto Ayora.  Luckily there were still two airport employees there and they drove us to the jetty, from where it was just a short hop by boat to Santa Cruz Island.  There, we had to wait for an hour for our taxi to come all the way from Puerto Ayora, but no worries...  We no longer had to hurry.  We had 8 days ahead of us to enjoy the Galapagos islands. We sold the empty brand new jerrycan for 5 US$ while we were waiting for the taxi to Puerto Ayora.

The New Year doll at Rancho Carolina before it was burnt

After climbing through a small hole in the clouds near Ibarra, we were VFR on top for the first hour after take-off

JAlbum 6.2 Copyright: Angela & Flemming PEDERSEN