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Anthem Adrift
Watch Out!
04/18/2010, Day One

April 18

Did not earn breakfast that Jacksters provided this morning for helping them with Sailmail (SSB-based email). Only potentially constructive suggestion was to upgrade from older version of application. David's effort in proceeding into Villemil to download latest came to naught as all internet services were closed. Unless one is most rigorously religious and can sense the spiritual essence of a Sabbath, Sundays (for Christians) tend to be indistinguishable from others.

Since recounting daily events is likely to get a shade tiresome - watch, eat, nap, watch, eat, nap, watch - will probably begin to make things up. The really good stuff may begin after a week or so with sleep-deprivation-generated hallucinations. A reread in Marquesas after good rest should be a hoot.

Inspiration Lady has decided to try six hour watches. Although on-watch is lengthy, off-watch crew have time to get really useful sleep. It seems like such a fine idea that Anthem will also effectuate this system with half the crew being on watch at all times.

Progress westward will probably demote winlink to secondary status. Sailmail has closer stations with, probably, stronger signals that should, theoretically, provide better access.

"In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; In practice, there is." - Chuck Reid

Jack

Happy Feet, and Blue
04/17/2010, Villemil, Isla Isabela, Galapagos

Booby, Blue Feet

April 17

With accompaniment of Inspiration Ladys went walkabout on moonscape island to look for blue-footed booby and penguin inhabitants. White bird excrement covered every outcropping of jagged volcanic rock. Saw literally herds of marine iguana, a few lava lizards, many red crabs and one bird flying away. First suspicion was that whole flock went up to cabins on Seymore for long weekend after our Tuesday visit. This last guy stayed behind to shut off the lights. Finally got pictures of blue-footed boobies and penguins on dinghy ride back to boats.

As head is apparently project of the week, found leak at joker valve (post bowl segment, Cal, of course) which led to discovery of another leak when through-hull valve accidentally left closed for test pump. Beseeching poo god to intervene with head to properly discharge its responsibilities, henceforth.

Last walk into Villemil for internet disclosed finances and sailblog in acceptable order and resulted in extensive acquisition of pastries upon instigation by Robert on whom entirety of blame descends.

Four boat flotilla leaving for Polynesia tomorrow are Inspiration Lady (Canadians Gary & Jackie), Bristol Rose (Australians Robert & Trish with sons Owen & Elliot, 23 & 20 respectively), Jackster (Englishmen David & Jacqui) and Anthem (the token Yank). Additional amigos and acquaintances are ahead and arear. Anticipate being turtle of group due significantly shorter waterline. SSB 'local net' for mutual contact is initially 8149.0 MHz @ 1300z and 2300z (0900 & 1900 EDT). Propagation to St. Pete unlikely, but friends there are welcome to come in if able.

Jack

It's the Custom(er)
04/16/2010, Villemil, Isla Isabela, Galapagos

April 16

Possession of electronic Galapagos charts required purchasing 300 + dollar South America chip for no other reason. Ergo, only a very small scale, limited detail paper chart is on board that doesn't show mile and a half reef across path to Villemil anchorage. It's really pretty impressive upon close approach. Anyway, headed away from land for circumnavigation then entered small, crowded anchorage surrounded by lava islands for short nap.

Apparently, port captain is rather indulgent as regards autografos (technically required to stop at any port other than original landing) but suspect his inclination has more to do with economics than temperament. Nice little town has a few restaurants, hotels, limited groceries and two internet cafes. There is slim possibility that proper Sailmail position reporting ops will be confirmed before month-long loss of on-line service.

Penguins. They're tiny little buggers. Tomorrow morning's walking tour is reputed to include a penguin rookery and blue-footed boobies (heard that story before). In a like vein, reputed smooth anchorage has been a cruel hoax. Last calm night, other than marinas, was Chichime in San Blas.

Head (toilet, Cal) had been a little hinky since hose cleaning, raising some concern. As turns out, joker valve, which prevents return of chunkage to bowl, had been inverted by malfunction induced back-pressure. Introduction of substantial gobbets through confused gate set things aright so that ongoing scatological activities may proceed in their customary manner. You wanted to know, right?!

Jack

Pooped
04/14/2010, Wreck Bay, Galapagos

April 15

In recounting fun with grey water several days ago, obliquely referred to black water, AKA poop. What a delightful coincidence. After a few weeks of hinting darkly, the head, always a little mischievous, picked day of departure from San Cristobal to discontinue passing the aforementioned substance from porcelain receptacle to its intended and more appropriate location. This occasioned dismantling of significant bits of effected system. Most difficult hose in the boat to take out was culprit (rule #33). It provided entertainment all morning and early afternoon. Scale had reduced inch and a half orifice to a mere shadow of its former dimension so that numerous whacks with a rubber mallet created an impressive hill of grey/black slag on appropriately named poop deck. Reinstallation was far more challenging than removal, after which a quick trip into town for eggs and bread allowed weighing anchor at 1600 before good sense could suggest resting up to leave a day later.

Overnight passage should place next arrival late tomorrow morning. Expect a day or two in Villemil, San Isabela with penguins then on to Fatu Hiva.

After a few hours twelve knot beam wind quickly became nine knot beat. Held out well north of rhumb, until avoiding Isla Santa Fe became impossible without a tack, then awakened bilge monster. Availability of cheap fuel before the big jump made that decision easier and besides, I'm too pooped withal.

Jack

Easy Come, Easy Go
04/14/2010, Wreck Bay, Galapagos

Kicker Rock

April 14

Will not have personal relationship with checking account for up to a month, so spent much of day with bills protecting credit rating. Liz will be pleased at impossibility of spending money during passage, however, because of tax structure, French Polynesia promises to nullify some of that advantage (bread is subsidized). Grocery binge in Panama, besides evading malnourishment en route, was designed to stanch more egregious levels of monetary hemorrhage.

Scofflaw Jackster, providing lame excuse in Puerto Villemil, Isla Isabella, has successfully gained access for a few days prior to setting off for edge of the world. Inspiration Lady and I plan same. Not legal without autografo, but port captain reported to be mellow. Anticipating smooth anchorage, clear water and penguins, cute little ones.

As underway opportunities for interesting photography will be limited - water, boat, water, boat - may eventually add pictures of Galapagos to posts from passage. Holding breath until blue while waiting will be of limited utility as internet is necessary, but unavailable until at least Hiva Oa at just shy of 3000 NM away.

Jack

Approaching Spanishlessness
04/13/2010, Wreck Bay, Galapagos

Darwin Hotel Restaurant

April 13

Having often been the youngest in a group, even when flying, it now seems odd to usually be the oldest. The matter, however, is handily dispatched by my acting adolescent. Immaturity pays off. This works quite well due to boyish good looks and ingenuous charm (dissenting opinions will be given appropriate attention).

"Thank you for sending me a copy of your book. I'll waste no time reading it." - Moses Hadas

After scrambling around to buy T-shirts and other junk without which our lives would be meaningless, the different boat for return trip was initially a pleasant surprise - forward facing seats, inside cabin with air-conditioning and a movie. Glee progressively faded during much longer ride due adverse current, pounding into rougher seas with constant ten to fifteen degree port list. Attempt to avoid bouncing, sliding relationship with big guy to my left afforded limited relaxation. No crackers.

Tomorrow will begin process of breaking free for French Polynesia.

Jack

A Want of Boobies
04/13/2010, Puerto Ayora, Galapagos

Blue-footed Booby

April 12

Isla Seymore contains a fulsomeness of frigates, a largess of lizards, a smattering of sea lions, but no bounty of boobies. Found a few of that fowl clinging to a cliff, but pictures are particularly poopy. Photoshop follows. It's probably OK, though, based on rumor that if you've seen two you've seen 'em all. Did sight a number of blue-foots (blue-feet?.. no) awing, but color isn't possible to observe thus.

Back at north shore of Santa Cruz, while others debarked on a(n) horsefly infested beach, sailors, having experienced a surfeit of biting bugs and sand (sand did not bite - sorry for any confusion), remained aboard with beer. Lingerers did miss closer view of flamingos, which must eat lots of whatever it is that creates the color, because they were brilliant, and large red crabs sunning on black lava rock.

Second day ended as first at The Rock restaurant among friends with good food and a libation, possibly two, of choice, succeeded by inescapable, when available, ice cream.

Jack

No Dump
04/13/2010, Puerto Ayora, Galapagos

Big Tortoises

April 11

Ferry from San Cristobal to Santa Cruz with Inspiration Ladys was minimally uncomfortable as one of 25 sardines in a very small cruiser. The three 200 HP outboards whisked us to destination in a scant two hours with only two riders heaving over the side. Cuisine was scrumptious crackers and a cup of Coke from a friendly steward balancing all while pouring and serving.

Hotel Darwin was first seen, by accident, on a side street and was at perfect level of evolution from cheap hostel to expensive four star. Puerto Ayora, catering to tourists, is an island Santa Fe, with artsy-fartsy everywhere. Twice Puerto Baquerizo at 12 thousand, it's still a fun place.

After late breakfast in Puerto Ayora caught a taxi to see more tortoises, biggest yet, but really, the law of diminishing returns had set in and we had just seen enough turtles. In same area Gary and I crawled through a lava tube while claustrophobic Jackie met us with driver at exit to help clean off accumulated mud. Shouldn't a lava tube be full of lava?

Met Bristol Roses and John from "JC" for dinner and obligatory ice cream.

No internet or SSB, so will accumulate this nonsense for mass dump upon return to Wreck Bay.

Jack

Shoot the Chute
04/10/2010, Wreck Bay, Galapagos

Rock Fish

April 10

Good diving. Water clarity didn't suck, but could have been better. Haven't looked at stills and video, waiting for camera case to dry, but anticipate the odd decent shot.

Should have terrific film of several juvenile sea lions cavorting around at initial, equipment checkout/snorkel stop (great fun, but mostly designed to weed out knuckle-heads prior to moderately difficult dives).

Ran through gap between spires on first dive at Kicker Rock, then around outside wall of smaller on second. Borrowed 5 mil full wetsuit to fend off third degree goose bumps in nippy water. Not much coral, but a ton of turtles, fish, white tip, black tip and Galapagos sharks, sting rays and flights of big spotted eagles. No hammerheads. No whale shark. Primary purpose of beautiful beach stop on return was to feed horseflies. Pictures will arrive blog by and by.

Would have sailed, tomorrow, to Puerto Ayora with Bristol Rose but agent snafu delayed their zarpe (departure permit) until, at least, after 0700 ferry. Dinero for Monday tour to Isla Seymore (nesting birds like frigates and, yes Cal, boobies) has been plunked. Darwin Research Center, lava tubes and other delights await Tuesday morning prior to return ferry at 1400.

Probability of boat being ready to depart at end of week for Marquesas with other reprobates, insignificantly above zero.

Jack

Oh Deer
04/09/2010, Wreck Bay, Galapagos

Sea Lions, See

April 9

Rainy morning; beautiful, clear, windy afternoon. Appreciate 20 day limit for cruisers who stop over en route to Marquesas. Temptation to hang around would keep many here. Friendly people, interesting town, inexpensive restaurants, unique wildlife, world class diving and snorkeling, sea lions littering the waterfront, good surfing breaks either side of harbor entrance and, of course, blue footed boobies. Does that mean that their feet are sad or that only ambulatory birds are? (OK, it's a stretch, but work for it)

Peruvian band on shore is playing "Sounds of Silence" with traditional instruments. It's quite good.

After varnishing, lost all initiative for additional fruitfulness. Besides taking and retrieving laundry ($1 a kilo), eating, drinking and reading have suffused the day. Surely there's at least a semi-deadly sin in there somewhere. OK, also worked on adding pictures to the blog when internet was intermittently up, but fear words such as 'useful' and 'productive' are not appropriately associated with that activity.

Just don't have anything worth a chuckle tonight. Perhaps by tomorrow the muse of foolish nonsense (pretty sure her name is Bambi) will slap me up side the head with the magic zucchini (although fairies have remained with wands, most former stick bearers have gone to something with more heft) of inspiration. Hope it's not too painful.

Jack

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S/V Anthem
Who: Jack Warren, Janice Holmes
Port: Weeki Wachee, FL
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