At 06.15h this morning we were rudely awakened by the "Generalissimo" of the
Capitania di Puerto Villamil (a real Sergeant-Major of some 55 years with
corresponding stern face and very bribable), Isla Isabela, because we had
not left yet, whereas our "Zarpe", the outbound clearance document you need
to clear in at the next port of entry, was issued for Saturday/Sunday. If we
would not leave immediately, we would have to pay to stay another few days.
He could not be bothered by the fact that this did not make any sense, as we
could have stayed for another week without additional costs, if we had not
asked for our Zarpe to be issued on Saturday. Maybe the most impressive
island, but also the most keen on getting your money in whatever way.
One reason we delayed our departure by two days was to clean the hull from
green slime, which easily makes a knot of difference. Over 20 days that is
500nm or a trip which is 2,5 days longer or shorter. Another reason was that
the 200 liters of fuel our friend and wheeler-dealer Henry arranged for us
was not sufficient. Since Henry had no time to get us additional fuel at a
better price than what tourists normally pay (locals pay $0.33/l which is a
subsidized rate, tourists pay around $0.90/l, which is still not bad, and
Henry cut us a deal for $0.66/l, for which he brought the fuel to the boat),
I had to go on a fishing expedition for diesel with our our own jerry cans.
Not too surprisingly the Capitania also trades in fuel and had already
offered their services, but they were more expensive and we were fed up with
the "Generalissimo" any way, so I had to get to the fuel station myself
directly. From the dock I set off with 4 empty jerry cans on my shoulder,
and within a minute the local guy who distributes desalinated water, stopped
to offer me a ride on his motorcycle with trailer. At the fuel station I
managed to get the price Henry had also made me after some haggling, after
which the water guy drove me back to the dock. After some feeble resistance
from officials at the dock, who wanted to cash taxes, fees and tips for
doing nothing, which I resolutely declined by saying we had left enough cash
behind on Isabela, I loaded the dinghy and motored off a happy man. The
third reason was that on Sunday evening we had a rather alcoholic farewell
party on S/V Paramoor II, a Canadian single-handed sailor, who had taken on
4 crew to accompany him on his Pacific crossing. An interesting lot, whom we
will likely be seeing in the Marquesas again. On Monday evening we had a
relaxed dinner on board Aquamante with Heike and Stefan from S/V Baju, a
nice German couple, whom we met in San Cristóbal.
Anyway, even without the persuasive powers of the Generalissimo we intended
to leave early on Tuesday and do so at 7.00h for our crossing from Isabela,
Galápagos to the Marquesas, a 2908nm passage, which should take us from 20
to 25 days. Theoretically longer than the transatlantic passage, but in
practice probably shorter as we can sail along the rhumb line, the shortest
line between Isabela and Fatu-Hiva, our first destination in the Marquesas.
When we hoist the anchor, the sky is overcast, and it drizzles, exactly the
same weather when we arrived at Isabela. After motoring about an hour to get
out of the bay, we set our sails for a beam reach with a SE wind between 12
and 17 knots, and with 1.5 knots of favourable current, we start with an
average 9.5 knot speed over ground (which would get us to the Marquesas in
12 days) and a max of 10.4 knots SOG, when also the skies open up. If it
continues to stay like this, we'll be very happy.