Date: April 4, 2007
Location: Academy Bay anchorage, Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz, Galapagos
We pulled up the stern anchor from the dinghy and then had the bow anchor up and were underway by 1300 hours. A little fish had found his way into the water intake filter and caused us momentary excitement because the engine got warm. Claire and Geoff investigated and found little fishie. Claire saved him and we returned him to his natural habitat. Who says Arnolds can't catch fish?!
Date: March 27 - April 4, 2007
Location: Academy Bay Anchorage, Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz, Galapagos, S0 45.000 W90 20.000
We left Wreck Bay and were under way by 0645. We went around Isla Santa Fe. Bow and stern anchors set in Academy Bay by 1500.
Date: March 20, 2007 - March 27, 2007
Location: Wreck Bay Anchorage, Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, San Cristobal, Galapagos, 00 deg 53 min S, 89 deg 36 min W
WE"RE HERE!!! Island in sight around 0800 and anchor set by 1115 hours.
Tuesday 3/20 - Arrive and check in. We watched the sea lions on the beach off the malecon, but the sea lions are everywhere. Someone left their dinghy at the dock and a sea lion climbed in to take a nap. They do a lot of napping. I'm glad we have a high freeboard. They could probably jump onto our boat, but they don't bother as they have other options.
Wednesday 3/21 - Taxi/tour around island. Our first stop was a freshwater lake that filled in a caldera call El Junco. This was also a high spot on the island, so we had great views. Stop two was la Galapaguera, a Giant Tortoise breeding facility and preserve. The adult tortoises roam around the grounds, but the babies are kept in a pen, mostly so nothing eats them. We learned that although manzanillo is poisonous to humans, that's what the tortoises eat. Next we drove through the town of Progresso. Progresso was established as a penal colony/sugar cane planatation where the convicts eventually killed the tyrannical founder in 1904. Today the town is quite benign. Stop four was at la Loberia, a beach with marine iguanas. We saw lots of them and took lots of pictures. We went to a cafe for lunch. Then we went back to the boat to relax and ended up re-anchoring twice. The first time because the port captain came out in his launch to tell everyone about the 100 m cargo ship (without an engine) that was coming in at 6AM the next day. Most of us were anchored in his way. The second time was becaaue the port captain came out again, this time to tell us about the fuel tanker that was arriving at 7AM and unfortunatley a lot of us had chosen new spots that would put us in HIS way. By now it was dusk. Everyone found new spots, but for a while it was interesteing as quite a few sailboats were milling about in the near-dark trying out new spots.
Thursday 3/22 - Watch ships arrive, snorkeling & boat trip, find not-bacon. We were up early to watch both of the arrivals. They were exciting in a good way, nothing got damaged and no one got hurt. It was impressive to watch the tugs maneuver in the harbor. We met another family with 3 kids. Their boat is Aldora, a catamaran, out of Block Island, RI. They are also heading to the Marquesas. We shared the day with them. First we went past Cerro de las Tijeretas (Frigate bird Hill) and Isla Lobos. The lobos are sea lions. There are lots of frigate birds on Frigate Bird Hill. Lots. When male Great Frigate Birds wish to attract a female, they puff up a bright red sac on their neck. It ends up about the size of a well-filled water balloon. Our guide told us that Charlie Darwin first landed in the Galapagos at the base of Frigate Bird Hill because from his ship he saw it and he wondered why an entire hillside was red. Our next stop was Leon Dormido or Kicker's Rock. A narrow channel goes through the rock. Geoff and John went snorkeling, the rest of us thought the water was cold. We saw frigate birds and boobies and sea lions. Next we went to Cerro Brujo and walked on the beach. We snorkled some more, chased crabs across the rocks and sand and looked for marine iguanas. The kids saw some rays and I saw a marine iguana swimming. We had lunch on the boat in Stephen's Bay and headed back via Isla lobos. We stopped and got out and all went swimming with the lobos. The little ones are very curious and would come over to the boat but they didn't like it when the kids came over to see them. The little lobos would run to their mother which was a mirror of what our kids were doing when 4 little lobos came over to check them out. Back in town we found ice cream and Claire and I went in search of fresh food. We tried to buy some bacon for breakfast but ended up with nice chunks of pork instead. We used them to make tacos with frijoles for dinner. I really should have learned more Spanish.
Friday 3/23 - Errands, hike and go to beach. Errands and school took up the morning. In the afternoon the kids and I went off on a hike with the kids from Aldora while Geoff waited for the diesel delivery. ($1.50 a gallon delivered to the boat) We hiked over to a cove at the base of Frigate Bird Hill and the kids went swimming. No one there except us, sea lions and one Lava Heron. Then I dragged them to a look-out point with a statue of Darwin. Darwin even had a finch on his shoulder. After exhausting the entertainment possibilities at the statue, we hiked back down to Playa Mann and the kids went swimming. We managed to find another ice cream place near the beach. We enjoyed excellent milk shakes.
Saturday 3/24 - Hike and visit interpretive center. I had been wanting to visit the interpretive center, so this was a good day for it. There was a lot of information about the formation of the islands, the ocean currents and marine animals, the arrival and adaptation of the land animals, and the ecology of the islands and preservation efforts. We learned a lot by looking at those displays, but I found the human history of the islands most interesting. Probably because I was least familiar with that aspect of the Galapagos. The islands were "discovered" by accident in 1535 by Fray Tomas de Berlanga, archbishop of Panama. He was sent by King Charles V to report on the doings in Peru, was becalmed and carried off course (eveyone finds those strong currents!) and ended up in the Galapagos. Adventurers, whalers, pirates and determined colonists have been here off and on since then. Tourists and conservationists seem to have the most influence right now. Only four of the 15 or so islands are populated. Puerto Baquerizo Moreno is the capitol of the islands. So, the visit to the interpretive center was well worth the walk and then we took Geoff to the places we had been the day before.
Sunday 3/25 & Monday 3/26 - Complete errands & shop. We spent the last couple days running around town finding things we needed for the boat, finding an internet cafe, eating ice cream and looking in shops. We discovered that having a fried egg on a cheese burger enhances the taste and are now determined to try this option more often. Maybe we were extremely hungry, but we are ready to proclaim that The Mickingbird Cafe on San Cristbol has the best burgers anywhere. Like the women trying coffee all over the world in that ad, we will search the world over to see if our claim is correct.
Tuesday 3/27 - Left Wreck Bay and headed out for Academy Bay.
Date: March 19, 2007
Location: 00 deg 00 min N, 90 deg 01 min W at 2315.11
We crossed the Equator!!!
We woke up the crew and all of us wore funny hats and Mardi-Gras beads. Geoff was King Neptune/Aegir because he was the only one on board who's crossed already. We had to throw in Aegir because we are, after all, a germanic-norse-ish boat. And a fine King of the Ocean he was too. He told us that if we wanted to cross into his southern realm we had to toast his magnificence or we could just get off the boat and stay in the north. We all elected to cross over and drank some really rotten stuff we acquired in a give-away somewhere along the line. Then we all had some of the cake we made earlier. Tomorrow we'll dip into our stashed equator cokes and potato chips when we can truly appreciate being caffeinated. Adventure Bear is looking forward to being able to wear an earring now. Alex is the only one with pierced ears. We'll let her help the bear with his.
I tried to get the rest of them to stay up and have fun on watch with me, but they all crept back to their bunks to go back to sleep. Party poopers.
Date: March 19, 2007
Location: 00 deg 51 min N, 90 deg 27 min W at 1200
It is very exciting. We have less than 100 miles to go. We can see the outer islands as we go past them. And the current has slacked off to under 2 knots. We are trying to think up appropriate festivities to mark our crossing of the equator.
Date: March 18, 2007
Location: 01 deg 56 min N, 91 deg 31 min W at 1200
The numbers just don't tell the story. Yesterday we sailed all afternoon and into the night. The clouds had gone again and the stars were beautiful. The sky was full of stars and the milky way was there and it was great to be alive and part of the universe. And we were sailing. A great change from powering through the squalls. We sailed all night long. Around 1330 I noticed a teensy little island on the chart plotter. It was Isla Darwin, by the way. We didn't want to go there so we tacked. And we sailed the rest of the night. And we basically undid most of what we had gained. Sigh. The wind is out of the southeast and we are fighting a current that wants to take us northwest. The chart plotter calculates the current at over 3 knots, but instruments lie. Geoff went off watch and went to sleep. Around 0930 the crew made a command decision to turn the motor back on and head east. When Geoff woke up he came out and asked what we were up to. We explained. And he said okay and ate and went back to sleep. So by 1200 we had about regained how far east we had gotten yesterday.
Date; March 17, 2007
Location: 02 deg 32 min N, 91 deg 29 min W at 1200
Ah, what a difference 24 hours makes. The wind is still coming from in front of us, BUT the rain has stopped and the sun is out. I'm keeping an eye on the clouds though. The kids found a rain gauge of sorts. The bucket we take baths with is tied to the lifelines. When we found the thing it had water in it and Alex commented that she is studying rain in science at the moment. We decided that we had a fine peice of scientific apparatus and should check how much water we'd collected. According to the very scientific calibrations on the outside of the bucket we had collected half a gallon of water. I suppose a measurement in inches would be better. But the amount is more impressive in gallons.
Today is sunny and in honor of St. Patrick's Day we played all the Irish music we possess. Brenda Malloy was top of the playlist. The Irish fun continued with dinner. I have been hoarding a cabbage and some potatoes. I found my cans of corned beef. I even went so far as to bake bread. I guess it really should have been soda bread, but I thought of that later. I'm not sure what a true Irish dessert would be, whiskey? I think we'll settle for chocolate.
The day inspired a couple of limericks - clean ones
There once was a family at sea
who enjoyed their scones and their tea.
But the boobies arrived
and they dipped and then dived
'til the family fed them for free.
There once was a bear on a cruise
who thought he'd get by with a snooze.
But the captain and crew
found some things he could do,
now he likes to make web site news.
Date: March 16, 2007
Location: 03 deg 45 min N, 92 deg 33 min W at 1200
A slow day with tacking and adverse current. It also rained, as in dumped buckets, for most of the morning.
Date: March 15, 2007
Location: 04 deg 10 minN, 93 deg 13 min W at 1200
This afternoon we watched a procession of plastic garbage float past the boat. It was going by for hours. At first I thought something horrible had happened to some other boat. Now I think something horrible has happened to our prioirities. What I saw was a floating argument for recycling as much as possible.
Date: March 14, 2007
Location: 04 deg 59 min N, 93 deg 41 min W at 1200
Today a helicopter came by. It was on its way somewhere and came over to check us out. It circled us and we waved and then it took off into the distance. It had pontoons to land on the water, but who knows where it came from or where it was going. Geoff thinks it was from a boat or going to a boat. We can only speculate whether this boat would be a fishing boat or a mega-yacht. We didn't see either variety.
Date: March 13, 2007
Location: 06 deg 30 min N, 95 deg 19 min W at 1200
We finally managed to catch a fish! I'm not sure we're cut out for this fisherman stuff. We let it go. We're not sure if we caught a sailfish or a swordfish. Including its long, pointy nose, the thing was about as long as an adult is tall. It had a long, pointy nose and a sail-like fin on its back. It was big and thrashing and we didn't exactly know what to do with it, so we got our lure out of it and let it go. We spent some time after the excitment of our catch-and-release exercise debriefing the episode. First, clearly we need to switch to a smaller lure. Second, we know people eat swordfish, what about sailfish? I was feeling sorry for it and was happy to let it go. Seems like I'm the weak fishing link. I think I need the fishermen on the boat to present me with fillets as a done deal.
Date; March 12, 2007
Location: 08 deg 06 min N, 96 deg 32 min W at 1200
The wind has finally picked up. We had wind all night long. We tested out the storm jib for fun when we had some wind and some daylight but weren't in dire need of the sail. The experiment was a success and we sailed with it for most of the afternoon. While on the foredeck with the storm jib, Claire and Alex rescued a small squid. They decided it wasn't dead yet because when they picked it up it let out a squirt of ink. They managed to throw it over without attracting the attention of any boobies.
Since we passed 8 degrees we opened the goodie bag of surprises from our friends on Pythagorus. We crossed the 8 degree line at 1342 hours and 43 seconds. We crossed the line, wrote it down in our log book and dove into the bag. It's a shame the family saw the chocolate before I got a chance to either hide it or eat it all myself. We spent the afternoon eating candy and playing tic tac toe and testing the storm jib.
Date: March 11, 2007
Location: 09 deg 37 min N, 97 deg 46 min W at 1200
We're getting to be familiar with the ins and outs of booby behavior. The boobies come check us out with some regularity at dusk. Last night some boobies tried unsuccessfully to perch on our boat. A group of 6 or so were cruising over and around us, weighing their options. The boobies ignored the nice large landing space offered by the solar panels and attempted to land on the spreaders instead. Claire pointed out that she noticed the group consisted mostly of immature boobies. She offered no further comment on the link between maturity and intelligence and even common sense. So the boldest immature booby landed on the far end of the windward main spreader and then slid the length of the spreader as the boat rocked. His slide was stopped when he ran into the mast and fell off. Give them credit, he and his friend tried about three or four more times to land on that spreader before they finally gave up. The boobies try to grab lines and shrouds with their feet, beaks and their necks. Sometimes they even succeed. Gotta love boobies.
This afternoon we saw a group of 15 to 20 boobies fishing. Geoff was mad because for once we didn't have our line out. If, however, the flying fish I saw were what the boobies were after, I don't think our line would have helped much. It was cool to see the flying fish in action instead of crispy on the deck. At first I thought they were a flock of little birds. They can go quite a distance. But they were fish and the boobies had a good snack.
Date: March 10, 2007
Location: 11 deg 02 min N, 99 deg 25 min W at 1200
Today's wildlife were a couple of squadrons of boobies and some crispy flying fish. I was afraid the boobies were going to go for the lure we've been trailing. But maybe even boobies recognize that genuine tasty squids are not purple and bright pink. The flying fish were crispy because they found our bow and roasted in the sun before we noticed. Maybe boobies don't eat sun-fried fish sticks either. Oh, and the little bird we had yesterday afternoon has gone. He stayed for a while, but then flew away.
Date: March 9, 2007
Location: 12 deg 28 min N, 99 deg 47 min W at 1200
The kids are on watch at dusk and called me to come up. Ack! A container ship! I swear the thing just dropped out of a tree because one minute the horizon was clear and the next minute the container ship was there. Claire MARPAed it and we watched as it passed harmlessly to port. We are not alone out here. And we aquired a new avian passenger. A ltittle bird came from somewhere and landed on the dinghy which is on the foredeck. We think it's a land based bird, it has little grabby feet and a seed bill. I wonder if he came from the container ship.
Date: March 8, 2007
Location: 13 deg 20 min N, 100 deg 10 min W at 1200
Last night the luminescence put on a show. The moon didn't rise until close to 2200, so we had good star gazing and underwater-light gazing conditions. I don't know what glows underwater, fish? jellyfish? squid? The lights were distinct flashes that appeared as circles/ovals. The glow blobs were large, about the size of a salad plate. And they were all around the boat, not just in our wake.
Date: March 7, 2007
Location: 14 deg 05 min N, 100 deg 57 min W at 1200
This morning the kids saw dolphins and dolphins and more dolphins. We had found some swell and the dolphins were surfing the waves. The kids could see the dolphins four across coming through the waves just as the waves crested. Later in the day it happened again. That makes today a double dolphin day.
Date: March 6, 2007
Location : 15 deg 20 min N, 102 deg 10 min W at 1200
Yesterday we thought boobies were cute. Yesterday we were charmed when several of them landed on various parts of the boat. Yesterday we still had compassion and a clean boat. Today we are different.
Last night the first booby circled for quite some time before it decided to settle on our solar panels. He thoughtfully hung his rump over the ocean. We looked him up in the sea birds book. We identified him as a mature male Brown Booby. Then a couple more boobies decided we were and excellent rest stop. One of them settled on the main spreaders and the other one sat on the pole. (We had poled out the jib, there is still little wind) Now we were up to three boobies on the boat. Geoff was muttering comments but the girls and I ignored him. Geoff wanted to let go the line holding the pole to make a booby ejector seat. We were appalled at his callousness. We thought the boobies looked cute preening themselves and enjoying the ride. Things got ugly when a fourth booby decided the pole was big enough for at least one more bird. As the latest booby circled the boat the already settled boobies started squawking and flapping their wings at him. The newcomer was unimpressed. He tried to land on the pole but slipped and caught one of the lines instead. While the newcomer was trying to climb up to the pole by wrapping his neck around the line, the original pole booby was scuttling along the pole sideways to kick him off. The newcomer slipped. He tried one more time and he lost again after a bird fight. Both boobies were flapping and squawking and pecking at each other. The new guy gave up and peace and harmony were restored to our boat.
Until much later when we needed to gybe. As the pole moved Pole Booby had to go. He tried to hang on, but finally couldn't. Apparently Pole Booby decided that if he couldn't be getting a ride then no booby should. He flew around the boat, thought about harassing Spreader Booby and then thought better of it. He settled for picking on Solar Booby. Pole Booby flew into Solar Booby. Solar Booby had been sound asleep. Solar Booby had his head tucked under his wing and had no idea what was coming. Pole Booby knocked Solar booby into the water and then left. Solar Booby tried a new spot on one side of the life raft. Sadly, all of the previous excitement caused a large amount of booby incontinence. Our love for boobies was undergoing a change. Claire went forward to dislodge Life raft/Solar Booby. He stared at her. She stared back. It was a showdown. Claire finally picked up a cushion and whatever the booby saw in Claire's eyes was enough to inspire him to leave. Spreader Booby was the only booby remaining and he left of his own accord before dawn.
This morning we spent a great deal of time washing the deck and dodger and life raft and ... and ... we're not so enamored of boobies today.
Date: March 5, 2007
Location: 16 deg 17 min N, 103 deg 05 min W at 1200
The weather charts show wind, reality shows none.
There were dolphins again today and bobbies and turtles. The dolphins came in a group of 8 and were having a grand time playing around our bow. A booby circled us for about 5 minutes and then lit down on the sea. The booby had landed next to a sea turtle and was picking things to eat off the turtle's shell. Alex has decided that the sea turtles we've seen look like the ones in Finding Nemo. Later a booby, could be our friend from earlier, lnaded on our solar panel. As long as he keeps his rear end over the water he's welcome to stay. Alex also saw some weird floating discs about the size of a dime. The discs were on the surface of the water and looked like they had something hanging beneath them. She was wondering if they could be a stage of jellyfish. We tried to catch some in a bucket with no success. We are left to wonder.
Date: March 4, 2007
Location: 17 deg 15 min N, 103 deg 41 min W at 1200
Wind slightly stronger, but still on the nose. Weather is clear. We had dolphins playing under the bow in the afternoon.
Date: March 3, 2007
Location: 18 deg 20 min N, 104 deg 09 min W at 1200
Light winds, on the nose. Alex saw a sea turtle.
Date: March 2, 2007
Location: Las Hadas Anchorage, near Manzanillo, Jalisco, Mexico 19 deg 05 min N, 104 deg 20 min W
We left Las Hadas and Mexico at 1215 hours and headed out on our first long passage. Next stop, the Galapagos!