A Toast to Neptune and Welcome to Las Islas Encantadas (Galapagos)
February 15, 2012, 3:00 pm, Bahia Baquerizo Moreno, Isla San Cristobal, Galapagos
We arrived at this port of entry in the Galapagos this afternoon safe and sound. First, the details of the trip; we traveled 865 nm in 6 days and 3 hours. We only sailed without use of the motor for 300 miles. The seas were like glass most of the time and the wind was insufficient to sail after the first 36 hours.
But the good news is that Janet and I worked the sails trying to get every bit of speed we could and learned a lot about light wind sailing. Big Al (our spinnaker - the big bright colored sail that is flown off the bow of the boat) got as much use on this leg as he has in the past 4 years.
We crossed the equator at 11:59:25 eastern on Valentine's Day. I timed it just right. We toasted Neptune and asked for his blessings and assistance for the rest of the trip. The three of us shared a glass of wine together (Neptune's was dumped into the ocean which is customary). Janet and I talked about this adventure for the next hour and then I went to sleep as it was Janet's watch.
As we approached the Island of San Cristobal, the sea lions came out to greet us and a huge manta ray jumped out of the water and did a barrel roll about fifty yards off our bow. We are anchored in a pleasant bay with the 30 World ARC boats and about 50 others from around the world. The seals and sea lions are swimming all around us and you can hear them on shore. The customs agents are on the way to board our boat and inspect it. Hopefully we will pass. We will be exploring the islands for the next two weeks and posting the blog with plenty of photos and stories. So stay tuned.
Ok, Just how dull are the Doldrums?
February 13, 2012, 11:06 am, 02 01.1'N:86 01.9'W, Doldrums on the way to the Galapagos
The Doldrums are so dull that if it were a chick flick, Janet would be bored watching it. Can't relate? Janet never saw a chick flick she didn't like, and she has seen them all.... several times each. Still can't relate? How about this, the Doldrums are so dull that it makes my speeches at work seem exciting and inspirational. That's right, it is that boring.
The first 36 hours after leaving the Las Perlas islands were perfect for sailing, 20 knots downwind with a two knot current pushing us. We flew "Big Al", our asymmetrical spinnaker and our jib together for about 8 hours making over 9 knots. We hit 10.7 over ground at the high point. Then the bottom fell out as we entered the Doldrums. We have been motor sailing (using the engine and sails together) since Friday at 9:00 pm. The winds tease us constantly increasing just enough for us to take out the sails including the spinnaker (no easy task) then dying down and letting us flounder, bobbing around in the 1 foot seas. With no wind to cool us off, the sun is so intense you can feel your skin sizzle and it is a sauna below decks. But that's what this trip is all about, it's like a visit to the spa on a beach. Yep, know all about that from St Lucia.
We have had some exciting up close and personal sea life encounters, giving us a taste of things to come. On this leg alone we have seen two whales, four sea turtles, several pods of dolphins swimming in a bow wake, and a stubborn free loading sea gull who decided to catch a ride to the Galapagos. He would not leave the boat despite all of our efforts. I know it's a nice boat, and that's exactly why he should not have treated it the way he did if he wanted a free ride. It seems that sea gulls don't mind using the bathroom where ever, or rather everywhere.
At our current (no pun intended) pace, we should arrive in the Galapagos about 4 am on Wednesday. If so, we would "hang" off the bay of Baquerizo on the island of San Cristobal until daybreak. No problem, we are getting good at bobbing around in the water. There we will have some internet hot spots to upload the pictures of the start of the rally from Las Perlas and our passage. By the way, everyone is fine and in good spirits. Despite the heat and lack of sailing, we are having fun.