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Two days before we were due to activate Punta Galera, we decided to hire a pedal boat and go near the island and try to find a decent landing site for when we approached the island in the motor boat, it took nearly an hour to get near the island and found what looked like a good landing site. Punta Galera island is a large island with a thin outcrop ( like a thin arm coming out of the side ). The landing site we'd seen was very near the end of the thin outcrop which would have been ideal for the txing site, signals would be ideal for EU.

Unfortunately on the morning of the activation when we were on the boat, it was impossible for us to land at our planned site because of rough sea conditions, Vicente had to find another landing site. The only landing site he could find on the sheltered side of the island was a very small cove about 2mtrs across, there was a small rocky platform shallow enough for Ryan to stand up, but deep enough for the boat to enter, the entry to the cove was tricky to say the least, Vicente made it on his 3rd attempt, I quickly jumped out of the boat and kept the inflatable vessel clear of the razor sharp rocks and started to offload the equipment, I first put the heavy bag with the battery in on the rocks and quickly put the other bag ( with radio in ) and the antenna on the other side of the cove just above the water level, Ryan was next, I basically dragged him out of the boat by his life jacket, Sean got out of the boat without much help from me. From my feet landing on Punta Galera to getting the equipment and the kids on the island must have took 15 seconds, it was one mad rush, the main thing I can remember was Vicente screaming out in Spanish, I guess he was telling me to keep his rubber boat away from those sharp rocks :-).

Great, we were finally on Punta Galera !.

Unfortunately we were on the complete wrong side of the island basically at the bottom of a steep hill / cliff face. What came next was the hardest part of all our 3 other activations, we had to climb up this very steep side of the island on our hands and knees, it was impossible to climb up directly, so we had to go up diagonally, at this point I had a feeling in my stomach that I'd made a big mistake involving the kids ( especially Ryan ) on this activation, what looked like a nice smooth island turned out to be this massive rough razor sharp volcanic rock with an accident waiting to happen. All I could do was tell the kids there was no rush and to take their time, I took the bag off Sean and told Ryan to give the antenna to Sean. So I was carrying sports bag in each hand, Sean had the antenna and we had to somehow get up the island !. After about 20 minutes we'd got half way up the island and it levelled off enough to be able to walk unaided by our hands.

We were still not high enough for signals to EU, but we could walk around the side of the island until we could see the north side and the sea, after about 5 minutes the terrain got easy on foot and we found a perfect site for camp which was in the shade with a higher platform for the antenna. Basically all went well with the set up of the equipment, and we managed work with ease the minimum amount of contacts ( 100 ) to make the Island valid.

Half way through the activation Ryan was sat on his own on a high ledge looking out to sea, I shouted to him and asked if he was ok, I honestly thought he was bored, he walked over and said he really loved the island.

Ryan said it was great knowing only we were the island, he said if he ever won the lottery, the first thing he'd buy was Punta Galera Island, they were his words, I thought he was bored but in reality he was having a great time !.

It came apparent that we wasn't alone on the island, they were loads of little tiny lizards around 15 to 20cm long, they were all over and very tame.

While I was working the pileup, I had one sat right on the top of the Icom 706, I had one on my foot and another was trying to climb up my leg, I got loads of photos and video footage of them sat on the radio, they weren't frightened at all, they didn't mind being touched, in fact on a couple of occasions I had to knock them off the radio so I could turn the vfo knob !.

Anyway, time went by like a flash, Vicente was picking us up at 15:00 and we had to pack up the equipment etc and get back down to the landing site. Within 15 - 20 mins all the stuff was packed away and we started our walk around the side of the island. I was secretly dreading the decent down the side of the island. We started our decent, because I had a bag in each hand, I had to take one bag at a time and descend 3 or 4 mtrs and then climb back up for the other bag and at the same time watch out for Ryan and Sean, remember Ryan was only 9 yrs old !. Half way down it came apparent that this wasn't where we'd climbed up :(, we came to a ledge with a shear drop of about 15 to 20 mtr down onto rocks !, I told the kids to stop climbing down and start going across, within about 30 seconds we'd cleared the ledge and proceeded to climb down to our pick up point. With more luck than judgement we stumbled across our little cove where we were to be picked up, we wasn't there 30 seconds when Sean saw Vicente coming around the headland to pick us up. Getting back in the boat was just as a mad rush like it was earlier getting out, within a few seconds we were all in and Vicente was reversing the boat out of the 2 mtr wide cove.

I felt a massive sense of relief once I was in the boat, I was genuinely worried when we were trying to get down the side of the island, I shouted over the sound of the outboard motor and asked Ryan if he was ok, he turned with a big smile on his face and said he was fine and went on to say he'd had a fantastic time and wanted to return back to PG someday !.

We proceeded back to Portinatx beach all 3 of us with a feeling of great sense of achievement.

Anyway here is the link to the short film, hopefully it gives a small indication what an exciting time we had on Punta Galera Island :

Here is the link to the short Film

49AT/E-446 Punta Galera

Short Audio cliphere





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