March 2010 - page 2

Here are some more pictures of beautiful Isabela:

Blue footed boobies, Galapagos penguins, crabs, spotted eagle ray, marine iguana

We don't go out at night too often but one night we went to happy hour at Casa Rosita's right on the beach. Claudia, who owns the bar/restaurant/hostel is from Argentina and her husband is from Texas. They have 13 year old triplet boys! and a 10 year old girl, Isla. After happy hour at their outdoor bar on the beach, they have an Argentinan bbq, which means lots and lots of meat. Chris was in heaven. Most restaurants in Galapagos are in the proprietors house and this was no exception. It was great as us adults ate, the kids played on the beach and with Isla around the house.

For the next 5 days there is a festival - Roger and Janice on sv Beaujolais organized our weekend for us. Along with most of the other boast in the anchorage, We went up to the highlands for the local rodeo. We all just piled in the back of this farm truck, this was not the type of transportation I was expecting but it was fun. We witnessed cock fights, bull fights, people running after a greasy pig whoever could catch it got to keep it, horse races. We of course sampled all the local cuisine that was being prepared - empanadas, chicken and rice, pork and yucca.

The next day we took the same truck further into the highlands to a Finka (farm) - We met Omaro and he took us around the farm and showed us all his crops. Did you know that it takes 5 years to grow a pineapple? He moved here from Banos on the mainland in Ecuador in 1999 when a volcano blew and his house and farm were covered in lava. There is more rain than normal this year and so some of his crops aren't doing so well. The kids picked some white carrots, and green beans. They also ground some corn and fed it to the chickens. There was some new born kittens in a box inside. We went back to his house and met his family, they served us some delicious and juicy pineapple and papaya. We loaded the truck for the way home with bananas, pineapples, plantains and sugarcane.

The kids had the opportunity to participate in a triathalon and bike race. They organized themselves into teams between all the kids boats. It was so hot and humid I'm surprised they even made it around the course without passing out, I don't think I could of done it. Next Andrea did the bike race. It was her first time racing in something like this.

The festivities just keep going on and on. We went into town to watch the horse races on the main strip. We stayed and enjoyed a bbq in town.

We are starting to wonder about the seamanship of the Galapagos boat captains. We have seen so many times, boats coming into an anchorage, dropping the hook too close to other boats and then running into them when the wind shifts. Just the other day, a large training vessel came into the middle of the anchorage, again rather close to the boats already anchored, then they started shooting off flares!!! Each trainee shot off a flare, one of which came about 200 feet on our port side. Chris went over to ask them to stop and give them his two cents, it was not a pleasant exchange to say the least!!

However we can't say this about Fabricio. He is a skillful boat driver. Along with Kamaya We signed up with him for a snorkelling tour of Cabo Rosa and Los Tuneles. It was a 25 mile panga ride. When we got there though we could not negotiate the breakers, rocks and shallows to get in. The breakers turned out to be huge waves. Ruth and I looked at each other saying you've got to be kidding me, we aren't seriously going through this. And it turned out that we didn't. So instead of seeing the collapsed lava which created many tunnels and bridges. He told us that we could swim with the manta rays and dolphins that we had seen earlier. He didn't think the kids should go because of the current, which was fine by me. So the four of us, jumped in when he said go and amongst a huge swell we swam with a pod of dolphins then the huge manta rays, I've never seen one and it was magical. The kids and Fabricio would yell and point from the boat to where they saw one, you can see their wing tips from the boat, then we would start swimming over to it, there was about 10 of them. They seemed curious about us, they would swim towards us then when they got close they would swim under us and we could stare at it from above. Definetly a highlight. We got back in the boat and we motored over to Roca Union. We spent a while snorkelling looking for the sea horses. Fabricio finally found a few, they wrap themselves around logs and sticks that were laying on the bottom of the sea. They were brown and were camoflouged quite well. I never would of noticed it myself. A few of us saw some large white tipped reef sharks (I wasn't one of them!). They seem very shy and kept darting away. We also spotted an octopus and there were quite a few turtles in the lagoon. Unfortunatly, my Olympus Stylus 1030SW underwater camera which I bought brand new in St. Thomas and already sent in for repairs once is absolutley useless. It keeps leaking. Tim has a Canon and I hope to get those pics.

The park officials stick to the rules. So far we have gotten in trouble for tubing, waterskiing and even kayaking. All the above are a no-no in the Galapagos park.

We still are getting some site seeing in on our last few days in the Galapagos. We visited Los Tintoreras Trail, right by the anchorage which is a nesting site for marine iguanas and a resting place for sharks. We saw lots of young iguanas but no sharks.

We had a very fun happy hour on our boat with all the boats in the anchorage, and said bye to all our new friends. We hope we will see everybody again somewhere in the South Pacific. Tomorrow morning at first light, we leave for the 3000 mile journey to the Marquesas. Yikes!

We have a link to yotreps where we will post our position reports . However don't be alarmed if you don't see us for a few days, sometimes we can't get a connection to the SSB radio and therefore cannot send our update.



Passage from Galapagos Islands to Bay of Virgins, Fatu Hiva, Marquesas, French Polynesia - March 20 to April 9, 2010

10 24 South; 138 19 West

19 DAYS, 23 hours

12 engine hours

3000 nautical miles


Ah a beautiful, calm 3000 mile downwind passage.... NOT!!! I'm not sure why I was thinking the passage was going to be like that, but this is what I was I had in my head. Our experience was somewhat different. Here are some notes on our passage.

Day 1. We sailed off our anchor from Isabela, it was a very mellow, calm start to the passage. We had some strange conversations from the port captain on the radio, we thought they were going to call us back into the anchorage but thankfully not and we were on our way!

I had quite a scare at a pitch black 2:00 a.m. when our starboard smoke alarm started going off with a lady's voice saying "fire" "fire". It woke Chris up, (but not the kids) and we frantically looked everywhere for a smokey smell. Chris changed the batteries and it still went off, then we took it outside in the breeze and it was still saying "fire" so I guess the humidity finally got to it. Thank goodness that's what it was.

After the first couple of days of getting our sea legs back we tried to start a routine: school, crafts, a book on cd, baking, computer games, and movie. The first 3 days we sailed upwind with our main and genoa, we made really good time - 180 mile days. Once we got to 5 degrees south we started on the rhumb line and from then on we either used our spinnaker or our code zero without the mainsail. There was a counter current against us which was frustrating. We always had consistent trade winds up to the last day but the issue we had was with the waves. It was always choppy with waves coming at us from our side which made us roll from side to side. It was uncomfortable and hard on the rig.

We were really getting into a nice rhythm, Chris and I doing 3 hours on and 3 hours off for watches. However at approximately 1000 miles into it we switched time zones and we moved our clock back one hour, this really messed us up. We weren't waking up when it was our time to go on watch then we would extend our watch for one hour. We need to try to get back to a strict 3 hour schedule. Next time we will keep the clock on UTC.

Andrea really got into sewing and we gave her several proojects to work on. We caught 3 skipjack tuna. Our freezer is still pretty full from Panama so we had to stop at three which was highly annoying!!!

On day 9, we celebrated with peanut butter cookies and non-alcholic champagne for our halfway party. Yeah only 1500 more miles to go!

On day 11, We celebrated my birthday. The kids made me a scavenger hunt and I received some lovely cards, some handmade shell jewellery and some masks. We made lots of good food that day and I had a birthday cake.