San Cristobal
Having 10 government officials board your boat while you’re anchored in foreign waters is nerve-racking even if you’ve been a saint your whole life.

The Spiritual Cowboy crew knew entering Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands was serious business and diligently went through the checklist to make sure they’d followed every rule and taken every precaution to protect one of the most precious and diverse ecosystems on the planet–and to ensure all 10 government officials would leave their boat without incident.

They had the boat fumigated and the hull thoroughly cleaned at the last port, but as they approached San Cristobal, the easternmost island in the Galapagos archipelago, something told them to check everything one more time. One of the crew dove in and found hundreds of barnacles clinging to the keel. If they showed up in the Galapagos like this, best case they would spend a day and a few hundred dollars traveling outside of protected waters to have the boat cleaned and at worst, they’d be refused entry altogether.

So the crew got to work prying off barnacles.

After checking all the paperwork, looking in every drawer and compartment, and sending a diver to confirm the hull was in fact clean, the Spiritual Cowboy vessel was cleared for entry.

And after stepping foot on the Galapagos, the crew can confirm that every inspection was well worth seeing with their own eyes the magical place that inspired Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.

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