World ARC - Day 33 - 10th Feb – Into the Blue, well, the murky green.
World ARC - Day 33 - 10th Feb – Into the Blue, Well, the murky green.
The First Leg - Panama
Pacific sea lifeWe saw flocks of Pelicans streaming in over the surface of the sea, each following the other in long diagonal formations, looking like prehistoric Pterodactyls floating and sometimes flapping over the surface of the ocean, with their large beaks and angular bent wings.Frigate birds elegantly wheeling overhead, sometimes dropping down and picking fish from the surface, never landing, always gliding and soaring.Boobies, like big seagulls, but somehow friendlier and with rounder heads, flapping round the boat.No flying fish? we had seen so many in the Atlantic and the Caribbean, picking them off the decks every morning where they had landed, that to suddenly have none bursting out form around Nina was a difference that was noticeable. Perhaps that's the influence of the CanalThen suddenly, on the starboard beam, about 20 to 30 meters away, a blow and puff and spray and a fin. Not a huge fin, but it was attached to a long black back that curved and crested and continued to come out of the water, ending in a large black horizontal tail, that barely lifted out of the water, then was gone. There were a few of them, not big whales, (we think Pilot whales) all coming up for a few seconds to breath, then they were gone again, leaving us cheering and hugging and dancing on the deck. We dived for the camera, but they didn't reappear.
The wind picked up, and we had 30 knots of breeze, but with three reefs in main and gib, Nina picked up her skirts and we had a great sail across, passing lots of motor boats and gin palaces, all speeding the opposite way towards the mainland.
Las PerlasWe came into the North
of the Islands at midday, entering the narrow shallow strip between
Isla Pacheca and Contadora. Steve was going to pass between the
islands, having studied the charts and planning a course over the
shallows, but there were a couple of areas which did not match the
charts, and a few places that were only 10m deep which should have
been 20m, so we made our way out again through the far side, and
around the outside of the island, to finally see the rest of the
fleet anchored to the south of Contadora island.Other ARC boats were
streaming in to the anchorage. Not in the book, the beach had now
been buoyed off, so all the boats were anchored in 15 to 20 meters,
Some even reported dragging on the rock and sand bottom. We hit the
sand on our first attempt, 65m of chain was paid out, and we got the
dinghy out to join everyone ashore for the traditional 'sundowners',
the crews from other boats helping to drag the dinghies up the beach
as each arrived.