Sea lion on boat

Dick and Irene Craig
Thu 25 Feb 2010 15:53
During the last night, as we approached Wreck bay, San Cristobal, one of the islands of the Galapagos, the rain poured down and it hadn't stopped entirely until after 7am, local time.
We stood-in for Voyageur this morning and undertook the role of net controller. Most boats have already arrived and the positions were only available from two of the boats, still on passage. One had engine failure and another boat had arranged to rendezvous with them.
We crossed the finishing line a minute before 9am and anchored in the bay.
The time here is six hours behind UT (universal time), otherwise known as GMT (Greenwich mean time).
Unfortunately, while swimming later, it was obvious that the anchor appeared to be jammed under a rock. In fact, the sea bottom seemed to be covered in rocks.
There were quite a number of fish, some most interesting. They were swimming under the boat and along the path that we swam, even a ray.
We are not permitted to go ashore until immigration has been on board. There will also be an inspection of the fruit that we carry and if it is suspect, the whole lot will have to be dumped. Horror!
Had I realized this then I would have already washed the fruit and vegetables in a chlorine solution. The only reason this hasn't been done is because washing the fruit reduces its storage life so I usually wait until we are going to use it.
Last week, one of the boats which was making its way directly to the Galapagos from the Las Perlas islands, was flying its spinnaker during the night, broached, switched on the engine and ended up with the spinnaker around the props. Quite considerable damage was done and they broadcast a pan-pan, ultimately being towed back to Contadora in the Las Perlas archipelago. This was the boat which was rafted onto our starboard side when we transited the Panama canal. Rumour has it that they have to wait a month for a lift out so had left the rally.
Around 4pm the authorities finally reached our boat to complete the necessary formalities. It was necessary to escort one of the officials around the boat and he insisted that he looked into all cupboards and lockers. Fortunately we didn't have any fruit, vegetables or vacuum packed dried meat confiscated although the pamphlet given to us depicting unacceptable items appeared to suggest that perhaps they should have done so.
We went ashore by water taxi at 17.30 and met up with other rally participants for "happy hour", returning to the boat for a BBQ steak supper at 19.30.
A sea lion boarded the boat and climbed into the aft cockpit but it departed as soon as Dick clapped his hands. Other boats seem to have been less fortunate and had sea lions on the bathing platform all day. The fishing boats were swarming with them. They are very cute but also exceedingly smelly.
The rain poured heavily for hours during the night and the sea, which was a glorious blue yesterday, was brown and undulating in the morning.
Joy, oh joy! My washing machine is working again! I was able to do three loads and wash all the bed linen and towels. I had expected to have to drain off the water but the pump was working as though it had never been a problem. Hurrah!!
Tuesday night Dreamcatcher and Brown Eyed Girl arrived. Dreamcatcher had lost the use of her engines several days ago and although she managed to sail most of the way, needed to be towed by Brown Eyed Girl for the final fifteen nautical miles. Rally control arranged for them to be met one mile from their destination and they anchored safely. We were all thrilled that the two boats had finally arrived safely. There is a great spirit of camaraderie among the WARC participants.
When rising on Wednesday morning to prepare the boat for departure to Academy bay, Santa Cruz, it was impossible to ignore the huge, black, bull sea lion, stretched out on the cushions in the aft cockpit. Three much smaller, brown, female sea lions adorned the steps on the port side sugar scoop. From the safety of the galley, I clapped my hands but received a growl from the male. I tentatively made my way into the cockpit and loosened a boat hook from the top of the generator locker and made shooing noises. The male sea lion flopped itself up from the cushions to the starboard deck and with a little bit of encouragement, crossed to the nearby sugar scoop and descending the steps, splashed into the water. Two of the females soon left the boat but it was necessary to clap my hands again before the third was prepared to depart. All that was needed was to clear up the excreta and wash off the area where they had been sleeping.
The cockpit smelt rather horrid, probably because the stench of the bull sea lion has permeated the cushions on which he was reclining. Once we were on passage, the cockpit cushion covers were washed and we were back to normal, though perhaps there are remnants of the oil from the sea lion, on at least one of the cushions.
Despite our concern, the anchor was lifted from between the rocks without any problems and we were on our way before 8am sailing all the way to Academy bay, Santa Cruz.
As we approached the island we could see the dark clouds looming and as soon as the mainsail was lowered, the rain started and the mist, hovering near the shore, became quite dense. Before long it was raining heavily and this continued for several hours.
We set the bow anchor and advisedly, with the assistance of the driver of one of the water taxis, also set a stern anchor.
Next morning around 7am, the sky was grey and a pelican came to sit on the top of the pulpit rail for around ten minutes before flying off, leaving a message on the seat.

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