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Anthem Adrift
The Long and the Short of it
04/08/2010, Wreck Bay, Galapagos

Puerto Baquerizo Moreno

April 7

Friends provided bad influence, forcing late dinner, then two desserts at different places. Surprised at level of evening activity. For a small town (whole island has six thousand residents) businesses have a long night. This place now on record as new favorite place on the planet, displacing old NFPP.

Day went close to planned including standard over-optimistic expectation - didn't snorkel, didn't quite finish second varnish coat and rum became beer, but not bad. May, he said confidently, finish second coat and sand for final tomorrow. Hoping to snorkel midday.

Two juvenile sea lions have adopted the boat as their proprietary playground. Hope their rubbing against hull is removing soft growth. The cavorting often splashes water on brightwork for which they display no apparent remorse. Like with teenagers everywhere, efforts at reason have proven futile. Also typically, youngsters frolic and oldsters grumble - all night.

Pretty bland, but long day, short night. Tah.

Jac

Simple Excercise
04/06/2010, Wreck Bay, Galapagos

San Cristobal Tortoise

April 6

Toured some of San Cristobal today. Most interesting thing at El Progresso, small settlement with plantation ruins of a hated rich guy, was a hotel room up in what must be the largest tree in all Galapagos (upscale Tarzan). Reasonable rates. Cool! El Junco, fresh water lake in a volcano crater, was a long walk in the clouds. Giant tortoise breeding facility (No, Cal, the turtles were very discrete) was a long walk with a number of the fairly fleet(relative term)-footed beasts. Puerto Chino was a long walk to a white sand beach surrounded by volcanic rock. Lunch, at an isolated restaurant was excellent and required minimal ambulation. Based on some reading and "Master and Commander", expected less vegetation and more moonscape, but this is oldest of archipelago.

Began taping to varnish brightwork this afternoon. With last coat nearly six months old, don't want to wait possible additional two to Nuku Hiva (next smooth anchorage at far end of Marquesas). Considering just cap rail and scroll boards first, then see. Trying to remember reason for buying a teak encrusted boat. Expecting epiphany any moment. Wait, wait - because it looks good?... Naaaah, that's ridiculous.

Tomorrow should be simple in seven steps: Tape, sand, varnish, snorkel, shop, varnish, rum.

Jack

Getting Southern Crossed
04/05/2010, Wreck Bay, Galapagos

April 5

Hombre por el fumigacion was a no show. NBD. (Just guessed at that meaning. If wrong, hope no one is offended and, of course, explaining all this pretty much negates entire point of abbreviation.) Will be touring tomorrow, so he'll have a heck of a time getting it done. Am fairly sanguine about a roach infestation of Galapagos from Anthem. Agriculture guy seems fairly blase (sorry, purists, diacritical marks are unavailable) as well.

Wonder if many have remarked on the irony of a heavily Catholic country being stewards of an island group critically responsible for originating the science of evolution? For those curious souls (no pun intended), Chuck lived most of his life as a Unitarian and died agnostic.

Resurgent shower sump pump sucks. This is a good thing. Suspect resistance in wire has kept performance well below optimum for eleven years and probably burned out a couple pumps. Fondness for each little piggy now prompts care in placement as switch is activated.

During passage to Marquesas, three and a half weeks minimum, do not be alarmed if boat leaps northward 120 to 1200 miles in a day. At least one time, expect an 'N' entry instead of 'S' for latitude. It just doesn't look right when it's always been the other way. Passing International Date Line could be a schizophrenic event. For some, this will be no surprise due to belief that a close association with reality has already fled.

Jack

Seal of Approval
04/04/2010, Wreck Bay, Galapagos

April 4

Galapagos not quite as expected, but have only seen Puerto Baquerizo Moreno on San Cristobal since arrival at 1500 (2100 UTC). It's a quaint (pardon me for saying so, Sue) little town with very friendly people, an ATM, and ice cream, which Inspiration Lady, as first of local group to arrive, were buying - blackberry and coconut. Accomplished port entry and immigration today, fumigation and refueling tomorrow. Considering island tour on Tuesday. Expect extended period of unconsciousness tonight subsequent to indulgence in a tasty adult beverage or two.

Seals are everywhere near the water - on docks, on boats and in your dinghy, leaving presents of fish that, by passing through them, have been somewhat modified. This revision of molecular structure is not generally considered an upgrade. Like all the fauna here, they are unintimidated by humans and, when disturbed, express vocal displeasure before returning to sleep. Bet they'd pay attention if you painted yourself white on black and squeaked. Inspiration Lady are considering a contest to name their swim platform buddy.

Have not had sleep-deprived hallucinations, but after removing top of skull, discovered brain had actually turned to mush, so should stop now and get sleep before saying something crazy.

Jack

Crossing the Line
04/03/2010, Day Seven

The Equator

April 3

Grey water is the stuff that's not drinkable and not poop. An example is shower run-off, which contains hair, dead skin, oil and all the goo your body created and adhered to over the last day (or week depending on your level of hygiene). If collected, you would find it ugly, smelly and disgusting. "Fine", Cal, my non-sailing exemplar, may ask, "but what's the point"? Boat showers are below sea level so this mess is collected then pumped over. Today was spent discovering why the electro-hydraulic system on this boat, designed for just that purpose, lost its way. Good volts. Switch, of necessity destroyed in removal, not problem. Pump OK. Finally found ground wire, in highly inaccessible bilge location, had been spliced by twisting ends together and taping. Smokies! Peace, tranquility and cleanliness have returned, but it took all day.

Central and South American entrepreneurs are now using submarines to fight their side of the war on drugs - no radar return. Saw a sub hunter aircraft two days ago and heard one flying low today. Hmmm? Protecting seals and land tortoises from ravages of Colombian coke? Saving the chastity of female penguins feeding their habit? Thought those planes were only used around Atlantic and Gulf coasts. Must be wrong as I'm not in Florida, am I?

Speaking of which, transitioned from pollywog to shellback around 0900 this morning and did not break out into a rendition of "Bali Hai". As it turns out, South Pacific looks somewhat similar to North and strangely, the line is not nearly as distinct as on globes, so confirmed with GPS. Had a wee dram of the Isle of Skye's best to celebrate. Word is that Neptune wants his share poured into the sea, but figured, hey, this guy's a god, he can get his own freaking scotch.

Jack

PS Does centrifugal force make one lighter at the equator than at a pole?

Resumption of Tale
04/02/2010, Day Six

April 1

Replacing 27 chunks of tuner related hardware was somewhat more difficult than removing. This manifests cruising rule #12 which is amplified by corollaries relating to either too many or too few pieces remaining at completion. Uncluttered cockpit may now be crossed without need for expenditure of potentially precious minutes and prodigious agility of boat handler. Aft lazarette exhibits organizational improvement, while port compartment has inexplicably declined in that regard.

Saw a pod of whales this morning. Biggest one, maybe 30 feet, came up for air about a hundred feet to port going east. Just happened to be looking that way. Watched as long as they were in sight. Eight or so that I observed included a few calves. Glad mamas didn't take offense.

Have begun to see more boobies, possibly doing Galapagos run with cruising boats. An attractive bird, they don't deserve an appellation with such negative connotations. On the other hand, have no real evidence that they're anything but stupid. As gannets, they could have access to some of the publishing fortune, but, on reflection, that seems doubtful.

April 2

Surprisingly, wind began to pick up just after 2300 UTC (1800 EST) yesterday and continued to increase all night. Forecast of 5 - 10 maximum was somewhat in error (will desist from gratuitous, snide weatherman observation). Finally eased to 15 late morning for excellent sailing all day toward Sunday opportunity to be charged $500 for staying at a single Galapagos anchorage. Additional hundreds are demanded for pleasure of being trapped on your boat, unless accompanied by a guide, in three other locations.

GRIB (Grudgingly Reported Inaccurate Bullflop - that may not be completely correct) file of forecast wind and sea conditions now indicates continued good weather through arrival. This information will be taken under advisement. Fool me 1001 times shame on you. Fool me the 1002nd time shame on me.

Not sure this information has been widely disseminated, but expect to cross the equator tomorrow if wind doesn't veer too much and arrive in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno (Wreck Bay - hey, that doesn't sound good) on San Cristobal, Galapagos, Ecuador around midday on Easter Sunday (as far as you know).

Jack

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