SV Accomplice Blog week 19 27/2/20 to 4/3/20

Fri 13 Mar 2020 19:45
SV Accomplice Blog week 19 27/2/20 to 4/3/20

The anchorage at Puerto Ayora did prove rolly, specially when the wind lightened overnight and we laid side on to swell running in. Being rocked to sleep took on a whole new meaning! It also made for some exciting leaps onto the water taxis during the day when we were head into the wind and swell. Janet found this sometimes challenging but always made it onto the taxi if dangling between the boat and the taxi on occasions!

We hadn’t booked any organised tours on this Island but did spend a couple of nights over on the neighbouring island of Isabela which had come highly recommended. The ferries between the islands are privately run converted high powered sports fishing boats with 2 or 3 or 4 300 hp outboard engines, all boats of varying degree of upkeep. They all carried about 15 passengers. We paid our $25 going rate fare and powered out of the harboured early one morning for the 2 hour crossing. Before boarding the ferry we had to queue and be directed by a soldier to file past the security checking table where our bags were searched for animal smuggling. Apparently it happens.
Arriving in the port at Isabela was stunning. Very low key and sleepy. Just two wooden pontoons reaching out over crystal clear water, to take the passengers from the ferries with sea lions snoozing on one of them. Again soldiers were present this time to ensure that the$10 entry fee was paid. The settlement was then a walk in land up the ferry road and into ‘town’. The road was just sand, low level buildings and places to eat....all it needed was some tumbleweed to blow down the road to complete the picture. Apparently this is what the other two island settlements looked like not so long ago. Things have changed here in only recent times it would seem.

We only had two nights on the island and chose a tour that was highly recommended. This was a boat ride up the coast and into the remains of lava tunnels. The tunnels are open to the sea, and the roofs of which have collapsed over the centuries creating navigable alleys in land, home to marine life. We jumped into the water and snorkelled through the tunnels and met turtles, fishes and a couple of resting sharks. After a lunch on board we then mounted the lava and took a short walk across it, taking in the amazing picture of it all. We happened across the matting ritual of the blue footed boobies....two males stand around the female doing a dance, padding their feet and then lifting their tails. I guess the one that does the best performance gets the girl! This was a very memorable place.

We had thought about doing the 16km hike up to the volcano and back but even though it would have be great it was just a bridge too far in the time we had. It was as nice to be off the boat and have normal time if only for two days.

We took a walk along a raised path through mangroves at the edge of the water and had to give marine iguanas laying out across the path a wide berth. And then there were the lovely sea lions lazing about without a care in the world.

One afternoon we walked along the beach and came across a cordoned off area, we couldn’t work out why. We sat at the beach bar and noticed sand being thrown up here and there. On closer inspection it became evident that the beach was being used by the marine iguanas to bury their eggs...wildlife is taken seriously here.

The boat ride back to Santa Cruz was a bone jarring ride into the wind at full throttle....all part of the experience!

We spent the remainder of our time on Santa Cruz dealing with last minute preparations. Food...counting the tins that we had on board, how many more we would need, deciding on what fresh food was available and how we were going to use it. It’s a case of seeing what is available and being creative, running a trolley around Morrison’s or Waitrose is long gone. It’s handy to buy green bananas as they will last a lot longer on board but you never know if you are getting plantains which look the same but need cooking.

At all of these stop offs the Rally organise happy hours, an evening function and prize giving. The prize giving is for the fun racing element and just for fun. On the passage from Las Perlas to Galapagos amazingly we came 2nd in our class and I collected a Galápagos bag, very nice too. The wind and conditions were so right for Accomplice. I am not sure it will happen again so enjoyed the moment!

Matthew and Josh set to work cleaning weed growth off the bottom of the boat. We came into the Galapagos with a clean hull and after only just a week weed had taken hold. The water was quite disturbed and wasn’t particularly clear and it didn’t take much to spook Josh when sharks are mentioned!

One evening we were waiting for the water taxi at the pier head, glanced into the water and two tiny young sharks were cruising around the rocks. Young sharks apparently live in the protected environment of mangroves of which the anchorage had.

The next passage will be the longest to the Marquesas island of Hiva Oa in French Polynesia, some 3000 NM away across the Pacific Ocean. We seemed very relaxed about it though, no nervousness, just another long sail. We have faith in Accomplice to get us there and we have enough food and water. Ok if some equipment fails it will be inconvenient but probably not a show stopper.

It was decided that Josh should really be in France looking for his job on superyachts and would therefore now not be joining us on the next passage.....more food to go round, he does put it away!!

12 noon Wednesday was the departure time, we were still waiting to be boarded by officials and be issued with our departure clearance form. Finally they arrived, all 4 of them plus the agent. Formalities dealt with we were now able to leave the Galapagos.

The start of passages is always along the lines of a yacht race start. Committee boat, flag and sound signals and a start line. The wind was light, full sails hoisted and we were off at a snails pace! We finally crossed the line and had officially started the leg to Hiva Oa.

The forecast was for a couple of slow days through the doldrums and then downwind to Hiva Oa maybe with a light patch in the middle.....we shall see.

We will be looking forward to Alexander joining us in Hiva Oa.

The challenge begins......again!

Andrew, Janet and Matthew
Santa Cruz, Galápagos Islands.