Transport from airport

Dick and Irene Craig
Thu 11 Mar 2010 20:38
The anchorage at Academy bay, Santa Cruz leaves an awful lot to be desired.
Use of both the bow anchor and a stern anchor hold us into the swell which
at best, can only be described as uncomfortable.
To attempt to use our own rib is quite perilous and the guys driving the
water taxis appear to be totally unconcerned regarding the damage inflicted
on the yachts as they arrive to pick up or deposit passengers. One of the
stainless steel hand-holds on the port sugar scoop has been bent by the
impact of the taxi hitting our boat and will have to be replaced. The rubber
surround and the fiberglass on the same sugar scoop has also been scuffed
and scratched.
At least one of the WARC participants ended up in the water trying to
manoeuvre between water taxi and her own boat. In Ecuador, the law states
that when in a rib, dinghy or water taxi, one has to wear a buoyancy aid.
However, if you are between boats, so to speak, you have either just left
the "life jacket" behind or haven't yet embarked and been offered one.
There is now an enormous amount of growth along the waterline on all of the
boats at anchor here, despite having arrived so recently. We had intended to
don the diving gear and clean the hull but the swell makes that something of
a non-starter.
There are many other bays which are much more yacht friendly but visiting
boats are only permitted to anchor in Wreck bay, off San Cristobal and
Academy bay, off Santa Cruz.
Getting provisions onto the boat is an absolute nightmare, not to mention
the cans of diesel which were purchased from a service station rather than
delivered directly by can to the boat. This is because the standard of the
delivered fuel is poor with at least a 5% water content as well as sludge.
Oisin and Bev did a PADI course while here and have been thrilled by the
marine life that they have been able to see while diving. Oisin is really
hooked and has subsequently left our boat before 7am to take part in a dive.
Dick is beginning to think that there is a personal vendetta against him.
First his beloved electric barbecue has ceased to function and then the
toilet in our heads no longer appears to empty the bowl. This is the second
time since we bought the boat that he has had to deal with this problem. The
one in the port stern played up last Christmas but as Austin was on board
and using those heads, he sorted it with a little guidance from Dick.
Disposing of some bread which had been bought by one of the crew while we
were on the cruise boat, I broke it into small pieces and threw it into the
water. I wished that I hadn't done so, as we then had a flock of frigate
birds around our boat. What do birds around boats mean?... Messages!
A large marine iguana swam right up to our boat and along the side of the
port hull. A couple of days ago, a baby shark was cruising around our boat.
It helps to make up for the difficulties we are experiencing though we are
lucky compared to several of the other WARC boats.
On Saturday morning I left the boat and went ashore for the last minute
provisions. On the return journey, I noticed the first of the Blue Water
rally boats at anchor in the bay.
We checked out of Ecuador about 5pm on this penultimate day. Each person
from every WARC boat, had to be present during the check procedure though no
reference was made to any of them, other than the skipper who held the
Sunday morning, Oisin, Moe and Bev cleaned the boat, first washing off the
surfaces to get rid of the rust remover that I had applied the previous
afternoon. Then, each using a scrubbing brush, they attacked the fibreglass.
The result was simply splendid.
Leg four started at noon with rally control using a local, grey, coastguard
boat, to conduct operations.
The forecast for the next week is about 5knots of wind so we were delighted
that we started with 7-10knots. As we approached the volcanic island of
Isabela, the wind decreased and we were lucky to achieve two to three knots
during the night. This speed was mainly due to a favorable current but it is
early days and we preferred to battle on with the sails.
We suspected that the other boats were using their engines as we watched
them disappear from the radar. This was confirmed next day, during the 12 o'clock
SSB net.
Monday morning, around 10am, once we had passed Isabela, we had once again,
seven to ten knots of wind and by tweaking the sails managed to reach a
speed of 8.1knots from only 8.4knots of apparent wind.
We are now doing two hour watches day and night which gives each of us eight
hours off between each watch. The only exception to this is when my watch
falls between noon to 2pm and six to eight pm. At these times I am preparing
and serving meals so Dick and I swap watches so that mealtimes are not
We hove-to and Moe went up the mast to fix the sail bag lazy jacks which had
come adrift from above. This is the second time that this has occurred on
the starboard side although it has also broken once on the port side.
We have now completed three full days at sea and although the wind is
upwards of 10knots, 20knots apparent as I write this, despite achieving what
look like good speeds, we are not gaining on the rest of the fleet, not even
those smaller, slower boats. This has to be due to insufficient tweaking of
the sails as we adjust our direction, according to the wind. Hopefully,
after bringing this to the attention of all watch keepers, we will achieve a
better overall speed, without compromising safety.

JPEG image