Hello All and especially JW!
We are now approx 340 miles across the Pacific from
Puerto Ayora Galapagos. Only another 2,600 or so to go! Our next port of call is
Hive Oa in the Marquesas - we are promised paradise! We got off to a cracking
start, crossing the start line jointly with Branec a trimaran 50 foot that
shoots through the water like a dart. Needless to say we were soon lagging
behind the bigger boats. Sunday and Monday in spite of the forecasting provided
us with some good wind - we were averaging 7-8 knots over the ground.
Fortunately this time we had a favourable current helping us along.
Unfortunately in the early hours of Tuesday the wind died. We now have
less than 9 knots and our speed over ground is reduced to 4-5 knots. We are
trying not to use too much fuel, but have given in today with some motor
sailing, only 3 hours so far though! We are heading for the "magic" waypoint
marker of 5+ degrees south and 100 west where hopefully the trade winds will be
waiting for us. The official ARC time limit is 0900 on Thurs 31 March. If we
don't make it by then we are classified as DNF (did not finish), but more
importantly miss out on the parties!
The time in Galapagos seemed to fly by but having
said that it's good to be underway again - much less humidity (still very hot -
particularly down below cooking!) and no more wretched
We had three tours: one at Kicker Rock from Puerto
Cruz which proved to be the best one. We only snorkelled but saw white tipped
sharks and turtles not to mention the numerous fish. The rock itself is split
and you can swim through the cut - there was quite a swell but worth the effort.
The second part of the trip was to a lagoon. Crystal clear waters, lovely
temperature - just perfect. Here we saw Blue Footed Boobies, Nasco Boobies and
the Magnificent Frigate Bird - they inflate their red chests as part of
courtship behaviour. The highlight here though was swimming with the sea lions.
They are so playful and inquisitive. We found if you rolled yourself in the
water it encouraged them to come and play more. They seemed to enjoy
swimming up to you on their backs and stopping dead to give you a wide doey eyed
stare - as if to say "Who are you"? More magic moments. John had an encounter
with a very furry cute looking sea lion called Oscar. He was actually bouncing
off the top of John's head. He wasn't quite animated in the real sense, being
stuffed! He was a gift to Anne and Don on Harmonie from a crew member of theirs
Oscar and Anne brought him along to the farewell party.
Our second tour was to Bartolome - it was a 5.30am
start and a three and a half hour journey there - well I've just been called on
deck to help gather code 0 sail and pole out gib. This is the fourth
interruption so far during my blog making. Hey it aint easy! So tbc.but before I
go we now have less than 8 knots wind and our boat speed is currently 3 knots
with half a knot of favourable current. Ah I can here the dolcet tones of the
engine looming! Until tomorrow.
OK so Wed 12th and yes we're still motoring. True
wind speed at the moment 1.7 knots. Humph!
So back to Bartolome Tour. After quite a journey we
finally arrived at Bartolome. It looked more volcanic than the green Santa
Cristobal, overlooking the most gorgeous lagoon, glistening in the heat of the
day like a precious stone. We climbed to the top and had lovely panoramic views
- needless to say it was very hot. We saw Marine/Land Iguanas (some kind of
cross breed according to the guide) and our one and only Galapagos Penguin. The
afternoon was more swimming with the sea lions however with a little more
caution this time as the "big daddies" were on patrol. Apparentely the males
have been known to bite. Despite the travelling it was still worth it but
somehow you kind of expect these places to be teeming with life. We're learning
it's very much luck of the draw.
Our third tour was disappointing and not worth the
effort. A trip to Sante Fe! No further comment except to say that the guides
decided to re-route us on our return. This added another 2 hours onto our jouney
time home and made us late for Arc party. We did however get to see the other
side of Sante Fe. We arrived at a different port on other side of island (boat
needed there for following day) and were then coached back to Puerto
John and Kim had a days diving at a place
called Gordon's Rock. Glad we did it but unfortunately for us the vis was not
good, it was overcast and the current was tremendous. We were having to
haul ourselves along the rocks against the current - just as well they were
there to hang onto otherwise Kim would have been on her way to the Marquesas! We
did see a Hammerhead and white tipped shark and a turtle but all a bit murky!
Another chap from the fleet went the following day and had a spectacular dive -
luck of the draw again!
Probably all in all the best trip was Kicker Rock
from Santa Cristobal (first Island) and it was the cheapest.
Well it is now 12.30pm Wednesday. We have turned
off engine in order to hear net control position reporting, so consequently our
boat speed is 0.3 knots with thankfully one knot current in our favour, wind
speed 3knots variable. Those trade winds can't come soon enough. Either that
or a re-fuelling station mid Pacific!
John has caught one tuna so far this trip which
despite a heafty dose of alcohol in the gills sadly took some time to give up
its mortal coil. It graciously stopped twitching and we gratefully dined on a
very tender tuna supper. Talking of food Kim now has to stand in galley and come
up with something tasty for lunch! Not reduced to the lentils yet but I'm sure
that time will come!
Hope everyone well and looking forward to Spring
Would love to hear any news.
Take care all.
John, Kim and David