Well Passed Half Way Now & Galapagos IX 07:48:08S 119:46:42W

Zipadedoda of Dart
David H Kerr
Wed 19 Mar 2008 13:44

We are continuing to blast a trail to Nuku Hiva, with 191nm covered in the last 24 hour recorded period. We have slowed down a bit now, as we decided to put a reef in the main at 1800 local time last night (Note we are now on minus 9.5 UTC hours). This was to ease the pressure on the rig, as it was starting to make some worrying grinding and moaning noises and also to make the sailing in the dark a little less exciting for Jennie. Apparently, surfing down large Pacific Ocean rollers at 9 knots in the pitch dark is not her idea of fun. Can’t think why……………………..It has to be said the motion of the boat is now a lot more comfortable, and so sleep is now possible! Which is just as well, because we are both very tired now.


For the statistically minded, we passed the 10,000nm mark (since leaving Dartmouth) several hours ago. Of that 8,300nm has been on the BWR. So far on this passage we have covered 1881nm and we have 1213nm to go to the Waypoint off Nuku Hiva. We have been at sea now for 12 days, and if we continue at the current speed for the remainder of the journey (unlikely mind you), we should arrive on the 26th March. When we reefed last night, it was the first time we had “ touched “ the rig for 48 hours of continuous sailing.



Now, the continuing saga of our expedition around the Galapagos, on the MV Angelito 1. So it was that on an overnight passage we once again crossed the Equator North to South. This time with no dressing up, as it was the middle of the night when it happened! Our morning arrival was in Darwin Bay (might also be called Drakes Bay) South Plaza in the Northern part of the Archipelago. This was in fact the third time in two weeks that we had crossed the Equator, because the trip from San Salvador to Genovesa was a South to North crossing. So that makes us  “Golden Shellbacks”.


Unlike some of the more barren Islands this was a very pretty spot. With a very sheltered anchorage. This is very popular stopping point with the local fishing boats. These guys sell their early morning catch to the tour boats. Out boat bought the biggest Red Snapper I have ever seen. Must have been at least two and a half feet long………honest!





This Island is home to the Yellow Iguana. As mentioned previously, this was the mating season so the males have all their best clothes on to attract the females. That said it is now getting to the end of the season, so the colours were starting to fade on this chap. He will probably shed this skin within the next few days. So we were very fortunate with our timing.



Their staple diet is the flowers from the local cactus. This variety grows up to 4 metres tall. Nearly all of the Iguanas we saw were ensconced at the base of a large cactus plant, waiting for nature to do its thing and for the flowers to drop off. These guys don’t do anything in a hurry. Can’t say as I blame them as it was around 34° Celsius and over 90% humidity at this time of the year! Except when a flower drops and then Lindford Christie wouldn’t have stood a chance!!



At this point I thought it might be fun to try out my new wide angle macro lens.  The picture below was taken with the front of the lens no more than six inches away from his face. As you can see he was none too chuffed about that!


But the armour plated body is a master piece of bioengineering.  I took loads more pics, with details of his legs, even his claws. But budget restrictions mean I have to limit the pictures I can afford to post on the blog.




The northern part of the island has a long range of cliffs that are some 200 feet above sea level. These are home to many nesting birds, such as the Blue Footed Boobies, Masked Boobies, Lava Gulls, Swallow Tailed gulls, Petrels et al.



But the prince of the breeding birds here was the Tropic Bird. They nest in borrows on the cliff face and are very shy. They are about the same size as the regular sea gull we are used to in the UK, (Not like the ones on steroids that you see in Dartmouth, thanks to the tourists, who can’t read    “Don’t feed the Gulls”……). The difference being the exquisite tail that is made up of two long trailing feathers that are much longer than the rest of the body.


It is simply hopeless trying to convey the beauty of this bird in flight with still images.  You just have to see it gracefully swooping down the cliff face out to sea.  Or ducking the attentions of a hungry Frigate birds. It was a sheer joy to watch this delightful creature in flight. Literally, poetry in motion.




The waters at the base of the cliff were crystal clear and simply teaming with fish. We could clearly see, Emperor Angel fish, Parrot fish, ranks of Surgeon fish, and more Wrasse of various flavours than you can shake a stick at! We were also treated to the vision of a Giant Eagle Ray, majestically “flying” along just below the surface.



   Not much detail here…but it was taken from 200 feet away!




So after an exhilarating 3 hour walk, we returned to the landing point to be ferried back to the mother ship. Then lunch, prior to our departure to SantaFe, and another trip across the Equator! Whilst we were waiting I spotted this very young sea lion pup having a knap. As you can see from the Sally Lightfoot crabs meandering past him, he was really tiny. Cute eh?