World ARC - Day 34 - 11th Feb – Las Perlas Island s

Steve and Lynda Cooke
Fri 12 Feb 2016 20:28

08:37.3N 79:02.1W

World ARC - Day 34 - 11th Feb – Las Perlas Islands

Survivor Islands......

To give you some idea of how tough it is here, an episode of Survivor was filmed on one of the Islands. I can appreciate how tough the support and filming crews had it, on these rocky lumps, with beautiful sandy white beaches, tropical vegetation, flowers and palm trees. The hotel has very cold beer, but its about £2.00 a tin for Balboa (weapon of choice at the moment).

The fleet has a strange sort of cheery concern amongst it, with people helping and getting ready with last minute preparations for the next big crossing out into the Pacific to Galapagos. Those who have done previous ARC crossings can imagine the number of GRIB files that have been downloaded at the tables of the bar at the hotel (free Wi Fi).

Ropes are being thrown around decks, electronics sorted, engines given a final polish, etc. etc.

Steve borrowed diving kit from Paw Paw, was extremely pleased to be able to get into the old tropical wet-suit from Thailand, and checked Nina's hull one more time for little hard-hatted visitors, (encrustations) who may have set up home in the various valves and crannies around Nina's hull. The next hour and a half was spent hanging from a line suspended along Nina's hull, scrubbing and poking and scraping. The divers had done a pretty good job in Panama, but there were two through-hull openings, the bow thruster and box, and the rudder that all had bits missed and not up to passing a good inspection.

Better safe than sorry, Steve worked hard, with knuckles skinned and scraped, and covered in blue antifouling when he finally climbed out.

Briefing for Galapagos, and the Prize Giving.......

The final briefing for Galapagos was given to the skippers and mates in the little church up the hill from the beach. This is becoming an increasing concern and worry. The ARC is a big group of boats, and easy to regulate. The question in everyone's mind is whether we are being made an example of to show what a great job they are doing of cleaning up their act. No other boats we have talked to going across the Pacific on their own are jumping through the hoops that the ARC fleet is. Perhaps they will ALL be rejected and sent out of Galapagos again, but I don't think we will find this to be the case.

The list of things now being banned includes wheat products (flour, bread), cheese, pre prepared meats (which everyone has a freezer full of), fish, yoghurt, milk (except sealed UHT) any fruit and veg with skins on like oranges, lemons, avocados, mangoes (sorry Karen, anything that will keep for a crossing). There is a tiny grocery store on the islands we are told, so I hope its not a great ploy from the local government to grant a license for a Tesco Stores. A lot of people will now have to stock up all over again on Galapagos with all the stuff they have thrown away to get into the islands! Sounds like they are creating an opportunity here!

We also have prepared for us five copies of everything for the five officials who will board and check, including fumigation certificate (done in Panama) and printed signs on the re-cycling and to inform that the holding tanks are not to be opened while in the islands. We are there for a week, and out tank lasts about two days, so I will be taking lots of swims mornings and evenings I think! Oh and you cant use your dinghy, and have to use the local water taxis!

Anyway, enough whinging and whining about it. We are just a bit worried that we will have a problem and be refused entry, and we have to pick up our friends Karen and Peter on the Island when they fly in.

The prize giving and beach party was a great way to finish up our time on the islands. The prizes went to Dr Dan and his lovely family on the American Cat, Do Over, and to Belefonte, a Malo monohull, owned by Tim and Magda, the young Canadian couple who decided to come onto the world ARC whilst they were tied up on the pontoon behind us all that time ago in Las Palmas de Grand Canaria before the ARC Atlantic crossing.

Tomorrow we start off into the Blue......