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Anthem Adrift
Losing It
04/24/2014, Islas Galapagos

Thursday 24 April 2014

Going northward (016 degrees) Tuesday, current was moving south, on the bow, until stopping point where it flowed north. Overnight it picked up to nearly 2 knots drifting boat about 17 NM further away from Shipwreck Bay, creating adverse current during entire return and causing significant delay. This illustrates cruising rule #35 which needs no further explanation (same rule applies to flying with headwinds).

Following another hour and a half of scraping and wiping with red scrubby in rolling sea, got most of crud off hull. Wind had picked up enough by 0730 for heaving to with backed main for a bit of stabilization. Finally, after ingesting notable quantities of seawater and totally knackered, discovered another type of heaving and called it done. This two day exercise was much less fun than one might suppose. Cleaning the bottom in a calm anchorage wouldn't be as interesting nor build as much character, but, what the heck, may try that next time. On a more positive note, no one was eaten by an orca, hammerhead shark or giant squid, no tools were donated to Neptune and we have crossed the equator twice more. As previously done and contrary to general mariner practice, no expensive salutation was offered to the big guy. After all, dude's a god; he can get his own champagne.

Returned to Bay well after dark using plotter track and radar with complete confidence that risking reef and collision was better than another unprotected night. After failed attempt at sleeping in we await new and improved glad tidings of great joy.

Jack

Growing Dark
04/23/2014, Islas Galapagos - Temporary Digression

Wednesday 23 April 2014

May have noticed position variance last several days. This due someone neglecting to change "N" to "S" after passing Equator (usual suspects being rounded up). Easy fix with internet, possibly tomorrow, next day for sure.

Only a mother loves cleaning dirty bottoms. Regrettably unable to wait for 11 May, must make do with Earth Day. Upside is that saving the planet does leave one wallowing delightfully in smug righteousness, all warm and fuzzy. Speaking of which, Hard Rock in Nuevo Vallarta has no Cafe. Can't even eat at restaurant unless booked into hotel. Don't they care anymore? Have they forsaken Gaia? What will now become of us?

Arrived at cleaning station (with an "N", no helpful shrimp) around 1545 and proceeded to hang 1800 odd meters above the ocean floor hoping not to drop any tools. Have to admit there was more growth than anticipated. Used most of a tank removing majority of worst crustacea and some flora until light and enthusiasm wandered elsewhere. Small breeze initially stabilized boat with back-winded sails, but then died after dark allowing significant roll even with nearly flat sea. Expect to finish with better morning sun, then beat feet with favorable current back to Shipwreck Bay for unseemly, celebratory inebriation.

"I've had a perfectly wonderful evening. But this wasn't it." - Groucho Marx

Jack

Officials Time Out
04/22/2014, Islas Galapagos - Temporary Digression

Tuesday 22 April 2014

Ref. yesterday, churlish it is, as uncharitable port captain requires more pristine tushy. Not terribly fussed as there were heavy barnacles under keel and a little soft growth. Appreciate recent vigor in attempting to return Islands closer to unspoiled past, but, after all, we had been there 6 days and barnacles are everywhere. Should have seen the mess before La Cruz effort. Turns out, due orientation of various islands, a return trip of 110 NM is required. Bollocks! At least, so far, sea is glassy smooth so boat won't squirm so much as we change her nappy.

On brighter side, agent states no loss of time here as we will have 15 days after return and no seals besmirched transom steps or deck last night, although a few sloshed around stern looking for a chink (notwithstanding Hylas are built in Taiwan, shame on you Cal for assuming ethnic slur).

Given current state of affairs, project Friday ferry to Santa Cruz as location of Darwin Research Center and base for exploring other islands. Isla Isabela has penguins... on the equator. Is that cool or what? Diving spectacular Kicker Rock, alleged locale of excellent fauna such as Galapagos, hammerhead and whale sharks, will wait until return.

"If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Then quit. No use being a damn fool about it." - W. C. Fields

Jack

Getting The Poop
04/21/2014, Islas Galapagos

Monday 21 April 2014

After massive effort yesterday (flipping through owner's manual) discovered location of winch control box under nav seat. Winch returned to service following crimping of loose fuse holder. Finished epoxying and screwing sole grate for first test - so far so good. Removed mast track end snubber (badly corroded due insufficient application of appropriate goo) and replaced cleaned and re-screened dorade box vents. Felt incredibly productive and virtuous, so Taxi Aquaticoed into town for excellent repast and Chili's finest celebratory vina tinto. Not to worry, relentless battle against scurvy was joined prior to departing boat.

Anthem's reverse, stepped transom is wonderfully convenient for onboard inhabitants, but also, alas, as a sea lion perch and easy passage aboard. Fenders strategically placed first day worked for one night until the critters figured it out - deck subsequently full of seal hair and smelly brown stuff. Addition of obstructing rope was equally ineffective next night. Saturday, tarp placed completely around stern. That worked once, then last night a large seal was accosted crushing tarp on bottom step. Placement of fender on step under tarp kept them at bay rest of night, but anticipate ancillary efforts will be required to keep ahead of the persistent bas.. umm, rascals. Wouldn't be so bad if they just lay there shedding and covering steps with crap, but they come on deck preventing sleep with, apparently, terrible indigestion and nightmares, snorting, grunting and flopping around.

Today we get glad tidings of great joy on possible 2 day, 80 NM return excursion to clean hull. Since having adulterated (no Cal, cuckoldry not involved) the water here for 5 days, unless Capitan de Puerto is feeling particularly churlish, speculate we can stay as is. Remain tuned to this channel for further developments.

Jack

Happy Keister
04/20/2014, Islas Galapagos

Saturday 19 April 2014

Not worth detailing, but moving from Mexico to San Cristobal, located more easterly, time is an hour earlier, resulting in sunrise occurring early, excessively early. Not really sure when, due being unconscious then, but premature awakening, precipitated by today's activity, was accomplished in full daylight. This is just wrong.

Semi-responsive, but eventually undeterred we got away late to discover Saturday market too far distant for time left, so had quick brekkie, returned to boat for laundry (found lavanderia open) and actually showed up on time for "highlands" tour. Walked around caldera lake on 600 meter tall volcano, visited Galapagos tortoise breeding center (these guys are big, so making little torti must be quite the show) and then to the shore for marine iguanas (seriously ugly - Jan loves them) and snorkeling with sea lions, turtles (big) and YLJ fish (Yellow Lipped Jobbies).

Ate late lunch, picked up laundry and returned to boat where, after a single dose of malaria/scurvy medicine and shower, fell asleep for the duration. Seven day passage and hiking finally took its toll.

Sunday

Since starboard electric winch would be handy for million square foot Genoa (minor hyperbole), bottom of companionway dust grate support has collapsed, a few areas have leaks and some other bits and pieces need attention, decided to spend morning with all-time favorite, boat work. Just as well given that infrequent rain picked today. Would look for colored eggs, but suspect onboard bunny, the impenitent slacker, didn't hide any. Or perhaps we'll just lay about in torpid contemplation.

Jack

Milking the Possibilities
04/18/2014, Islas Galapagos

Friday 18 April 2014

After desayuno at Miconia Restaurant, trekked with friends from S/V Evenstar (B.J., Kathy and progeny Will & Danielle, precocious at 16 & 13 respectively) to Park Interpretive Center for a dollop of Galapagos history and around the nature walk past Las Tijeretas and Playa Punta Carola for sealions (duh!), lizards, marine iguanas, really large brown pelicans, blue-footed boobies and what flora survives the less than hospitable soil (it's volcanic you know). Highlight was indulgence in milkshakes at a lovely little cafe on the walk back.. is that sad or what?

Returned to boat for second peak of excitement for the day. Jan separated recyclables and other crew epoxied floor grate that had collapsed. We're easily amused.

Tomorrow is highly recommended "highlands tour" to include tiptoeing through a volcano (moribund) and snorkeling with iguanas, seals, turtles and various other aquatic denizens (so we have been told). Scheduled start is 0900, but we go in early because: fresh market may end before we return and clean skivvy supply has decreased to concerning levels. Hoping lavanderia, closed today and Sunday for sure, is open Easter Saturday.

Jack

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