Moxie - Beck Family Adventure
Mike, Denise, Asia and Aranya Beck
Sun 20 Apr 2014 17:10
02.08S 091.25W
20 April 2014 11:00LT
SE4, COG 245, SOG 6
Run 130

We left Galapagos late yesterday morning after visiting the Saturday farmers market and bakery. Surprisingly fruit was difficult and expensive to get hold of, not counting bananas and guava which are plentiful but don't keep that long. We have had a mixed bag of weather mostly on the nose and light with a few calms but it is better than expected and we are making good progress. Elena left a couple of hours after us and are taking a more southerly route with plan to get to the trades earlier.

Twenty miles offshore we encountered a large group of black fins milling around together on the surface, it was very difficult to work out what we were seeing with the obvious 'sharks' not ringing true with me. Our path took us directly towards the mystery and upon arrival we gave a group of sleeping seal lions quite a shock as Moxie cut through. They were sleeping on heir backs with all fins up in the air doing shark impressions.

This morning we were buzzed by a helicopter, I wondered if they were checking to see if we had fishing gear out (no) as we might still be in there reserve area.

I mentioned repairs in the last blog, Sudoeste developed a crack in a spreader which they had welded in San Blas, Panama. By arrival in Galapogas it had cracked again, investigations into getting a new one sent determined that fixing it again was the only way forward. Galapogas customs will take around 2 months to clear any imported part and then add 40 percent duty. With the help of the clearance agent an engineer was found and the spreader again repaired, fortified this time.

Moxie too had a small issue, our spinnaker halyard attaches in a fractional position a couple of metres short of the mast head. There is a saddle on the mast to which the blocks attach, one of the blocks had come off because the pin came loose from the shackle. Easy job, up the mast fit a new shackle 15 minutes all done. Ah, but this is a boat, so up the mast I go and see that the saddle has broken the rivets that hold it in place, I need some very big stainless rivets and a concertina style rivet gun. The guys at the engineer shop simply lent me the tool, no name, money or common language was exchanged. Pointing and mañana seemed to do the trick. So back on Moxie tool in hand and up the mast again I manage to drop the saddle inside the mast, it has gone forever. The engineers took a lot of convincing to make me a new one as it was such a small job, we finally got it complete at about 6pm Thursday before Easter Friday. It took 3 guys and me interfering over 2 hours to get the new saddle fabricated, they then had the cheek to ask me for USD10! I simply shook my head and gave them 20.

Ok so on dusk now up the mast again and I manage to get the saddle inside the slot but I cannot pull it back through to position because the tape I have on it makes the thing too wide. I gave up after an hour and now in the dark leaving my precious part help with tape a string. Next morning I did manage to get it fitted by about lunchtime.

Boats! There is no such thing as a 15 minute job.

Galapogas, as expected seal lions were a concern in Wreck Bay. There are hundreds of them and whilst very cute, they are extremely messy and noisy. At night the town beach in St. Christobel is densely populated, the young ones bleating like lambs for mum, the adults cuddling up together with fins draped over one another or barking at each other trying the use the same space (or possibly girlfriend). Sea lions remind me of Labradors, everybody talks to them, the pups are super cute, they shed like mad and exhaust some terrible smell. Sea lion eyes are like those of a cow, huge, inky black and expressionless.

We rigged up some unwanted deck cushions as a barrier to entry from swim platform to cockpit and that worked very well keeping everybody out of the boat proper. It was quite nice having these pets on the back steps but the oil and hair that comes off stains the boat pretty badly, sea lions are quite happy to roll in their own excrement too. The problem was mainly at night as progressively they seemed to challenge each other barking loudly and shoving one another off until the two biggest ones finally settled in for the night, one each side. We had a few sleepless nights including one were the defences were breached and we had to chase on cheeky guy off the trampoline. Clearly he knew which was he had gotten on though and was not risking an exit any other way so he charged towards us and tracked all the way back to the rear of the boat to get off. Later he quietly got back aboard, slept on our cockpit seats, threw up over the deck and clambered over the table, we had a bit of cleaning to do next day.

We had a nice walk around the coast and got to the top of a cliff to see the birds, in the ocean below were turtles, lots and lots of turtles. At any one time we could count over ten turtles in the waves, there must have been fifty or more down there. On the same trip we came within touching distance of sea iguanas and sea lion cubs.

Kerry told us about the local coffee plantation she had read about so we jointly went off in a taxi to learn about coffee. Taxis in St Christobel are double cab utes, the kids loved sitting in the tray. Unfortunately the plantation was closed and actually looked to be quite abandoned, we were able to walk around the plants and see the sorting machinery but it was certainly no tourist destination.

To sum up Galapogas, it is really no hassle and is worth the money. It would be better to organise an autographio to allow a 3 island visit, this will cost around another USD450, takes a couple of months and must be done prior to arrival. Failing that for USD 600 pp you can get on an organised 4 island / 5 day trip with all food accommodation and tours included! Actually that is very good value for money but above our budget level. Snorkelling was my biggest disappointment, there is some great diving to be done but again it is only open to the commercial guys and USD 80pp (160 for scuba) again is too steep for us to do something that is free everywhere else.

Just as I was about to send this we spotted more sea lions, we are 75 miles offshore.

Mike, Denise, Asia and Aranya Beck
SV Moxie