Boisterous Downwind Sailing; Galapagos Part VI: 07:13:80S 110:27:26W

Zipadedoda of Dart
David H Kerr
Mon 17 Mar 2008 17:05

Another resend…………………



WE had another brilliant days sailing, covering 171NM in the last 24 hours. The Trade winds ESE to SE from 12 to 25 knots. The surprising thing has been the drop in air temperature. We now have to wear sleeveless puffer jackets in the afternoons and evenings, to supplement the Shorts and Polo shits. That said we are still enjoying bright sunny days.


I had some excitement on the fishing front late this afternoon. I was sitting in the cockpit, just getting to the finale of Jilly Coopers “Wicked”, when the reel on the fishing rod started to run out. We did our best to slow the boat down and I then “stood up to the mark”, to take on the latest whopper. After a couple of minutes most of the line had gone out (400metres worth), this despite the brake being nearly full on. I then over did it and put on too much brake. So the 50lbs line just went “ping”. Another lure bites the dust!!  Somewhat crest fallen, I reeled in what was left of the line. However, this is not necessarily a bad thing….Whilst in Panama I treated myself to a drum of Dynema fishing line, This too has a breaking limit of 50lbs. BUT, it is one third the diameter of conventional line. So, the theory goes that you can get three times more line on the reel. So, when the big boys hit your line, you have so much more to play with,  to tire the blighter out, before you get to the end of the line. As Jilly Cooper says….”Wicked Man”…………..


And so we return to the wonders of the Galapagos Archipelago.  El Baranco…………..


This Island truly is a Twitchers Paradise. But it also has some other interesting wildlife too. Not least of which are the Fur Sea Lions, as opposed to your regular chaps! As the name implies this variety has a visible coat of fur, which dries out to a wonderful rich creamy chocolate brown. They are also much fuller in the face than normal sea lions and have a chunky body. None the less they are still aquatic gymnasts at heart. Although this one looked far from ready to “sparkle” for us.


  “ I wish I hadn’t eaten that last Tuna…….”




Now for the Bird life, quite a bit of which is not shown here because it costs a kings ransom to post lots of pictures via Satellite phone. So the one’s not shown are the Lava Gull. Similar to the Swallow Tailed Gulls as shown on previous blog entries, but a dark chocolate colour. Then lots more  Mocking birds. There is also a huge colony of Petrels on this Island. These are hunted by tiny community of Short Eared Owls, that feed exclusively on Petrels. We tried in vain for quite a while to find Owls, but despite Diego’s efforts (our National Parks Guide) we failed to see any. Although he did show us the layer of a couple of them, in a crevasse. Quite a few Plovers were on the shore line as well as Turn Stones.


One of the cutest birds is the Galapagos Dove. seen below. These are the same size as Ring Neck Doves in Northern Europe. They have a very comical “jerky” walk.



This Island is once again blessed with many Red Footed Boobies, although the Masked Boobies tend to be in the majority here.


   “I must be more careful with the eyeliner”



Also on this Island is a colony of Giant Frigate Birds. It took many attempts to find one of them with his “come and get me” pouch inflated and in a position to get a good picture, In the end I succeeded, but not before I used up a fair chunk of the memory stick in the camera! This bird was probably two and a half feet from beak tip to tail end. As you can probably see, in addition to the stunning bib, he also has lustrous emerald green plumage on this back. As soon as he has mated, the pouch deflates and the colours start to fade on the plumage. Until that is, next year, when the mating season starts all over again.



  “Aren’t I just gorgeous?”



Next up, the Masked Boobies. This pair were engaged in a protracted courting display. This involved the male picking up twigs and small pebbles and offering these as gifts to the female on the left of the picture below (she is the one looking bored). This was followed by lots of dancing and wing flapping as well as a significant amount of noise.  It looked like his efforts were reworded, as he “scored” in the end……….


  “Cut out the crap and show us the size of your Willy”





The National Parks love to but up inane signs, Usually, a stop sign is helpfully installed in front of a 100 foot cliff edge! This one, adorned by a Masked Boobie chick, was much more fun………..



  Safe sex poster, Galapagos style…………



So, that is another episode concluded. The next day we visited San Salvador (James Island), and Rabida…………………