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Sailing Gromit

Everyone yelled, "Liam, Liam, you have a bald spot!"
I answered, "Yah, right!"
"No, really, Liam!!!"


Are you 100% sure?
Get a mirror, quick!!!!!!

It's true. I do.

Do you know why I have a bald spot?

28//05/2010 | Linda McGinnis
Good morning Mike et al: Bill has been sharing your blog with me. What an amazing accomplishment... Congratulations to all. (By the way Liam, I don't know you but I think your bald spot looks kinda' cute). Cheers Linda
A Blog Post From Maia
14//05/2010, Galapagos, Ecuador

We were 8 or 9 miles from the equator and we were siting in the cockpit with Mom reading to us
from the book AIRBORN by Kenneth Oppel. Our auto pilot stopped working, so my mom started working on
figuring out what happened to it. I went down stairs hoping we could watch Bewitched but I started listening to my MP3. Zoe came down stairs and told me that we could watch Bewitched (Liam was in the cockpit sleeping), so we got out the DVD player at 11:00 at night and we watched 5 shows waiting for the equator.

It was about 12:00 when we finished then we went to sleep for about 2 hours. Dad woke me up by shining flash light in my face from the cockpit. I got up and found we were at the equator, so I went and woke up everybody else. It was easy to wake up mom, but it was not easy to wake up Zoe and Liam. I had to push and call them about 20 or 30 times.

Finally they woke up from moms help we went up in to the cockpit and had
a party at 3:30 in the morning. Then we went to bed. I slept really well and I got up late. For the hole
day we all helped out and got to Galapagos around 3 in the afternoon.

We saw seals for the first time. They were cute and some were big and some were small. We have been at the Galapagos for a few days now and I have been doing school trying to get it done. I have 3 more Key Questions still to do (key questions are questions that i have to send in to the Ontario school program). I am trying to get them done as soon as I can so I will be free from school when Artemo gets here. I really hope they do!!!!!! And I really miss them.
I am going to write more stories and put them on the blog. I have already started writing one!!!!

Yesterday, we went with a taxi driver Luis to a volcano. It was filled with water and we walked all around the top. On the way we saw wild horses. They were really cool!

Giant Tortoise

Our day of adventure started early with a huge pot of oatmeal. We were meeting out driver at 8:30 and still had to strip all the beds and get the last bits of laundry together. At 8:15, we were still slurping back oatmeal despite our best intentions so, needless to say, we were a little late.
To get to shore, a water taxi was hailed on channel 14 on the VHF. The kids love doing this: "taxi, taxi, Gromit, por favor!" Within minutes, a little skiff zoomed up to the side of Gromit. We threw our three big duffle bags of laundry in and off we sped to shore.
We met Luis, our driver/tour guide for the day, when we signed in a week ago. He is a taxi driver here on the island. His English is excellent - he lived in New York for 4 years, but decided to return to the island where the pace is very much slower- so we asked him about taking us around to see the sights.
First stop was the laundry mat.
Here, you can't go into a laundry mat and do your own washing. You take it in, have it weighed ($1 per kilo), go on an adventure and come back at the end of the day and pick up your clean and neatly folded belongings. Can't see anything wrong with that!!!!
How much laundry can a family of 5 have after 10 days in the Las Perlas, 11 days on the ocean and one week here at San Cristobal? The correct answer is 27.5 kilos!!!! Oh, my gosh!

On with the adventure!
Our first stop was the oldest volcano in the whole island chain: Laguna El Junco and the largest fresh water lake in the archipelago (see the photo gallery for pictures).
We walked the perimeter of the crater, which gave us great views of parts of the coastline and ocean on both sides of the island.
The crater lake is about 270 metres in diameter and about 18 feet deep. It was fascinating to see the frigate birds dipping into the water. Luis explained that they were cleaning their throats. Apparently, salt builds up in their throats from the fish and sea water they take in when they hunt fish in the ocean. To rid themselves of this salt, they must have fresh water, so they fly to the lake in the crater and rinse there.
There were also wild horses grazing near the top of the volcano. They looked very healthy and strong.

Next stop: La Galapaguera (Tortoise Breeding Centre)
Giant tortoises have greatly diminished in number. Up to 250,000 tortoises inhabited the islands when they were discovered. Today only about 15,000 are left.

From Wikipedia:
The shape of the carapace of some subspecies of the tortoises is said to have reminded the early Spanish explorers of a kind of saddle they called a "galápago," and for these saddle-shaped tortoises they named the archipelago.

The tortoises were brought to the breeding centre in 2002 from their natural habitat in the far north of the island to Puerto Baquerizo (by boat) and then to the center at Cerro Colorado (by truck). The breeding program run by the Charles Darwin Foundation and the National Park, has successfully re-introduced hundreds of captive-bred juveniles back into the wild, helping tortoise populations to recover.
A trail led us by numerous tortoises and then to the Jacinito Gordillo Rearing Centre. This centre is equipped with incubators, acclimatising chambers and all that is necessary to facilitate the reproduction of giant tortoises in semi-captivity. We saw month old and 2 year old babies, no bigger than the palm of our hands. They were being protected in cages to keep them safe from predators. Click on 'Photo Gallery' to see more pictures.

Last stop: Puerto Chino
This is a small, beautiful beach. Unfortunately, we didn't have bathing suits with us, although I doubt we could have stayed long. Within minutes of being there, we were swarmed by horse flies. Also, everyone was getting hungry, so it was time to head back to town.

13//05/2010 | Susan Ferguson
We are enjoying this adventure & I love the turtle picture.
14//05/2010 | Amazing Grace
I'm so proud and happy for you all! What a great accomplishment and adventure! I can't say enough about each and everyone of the crew of Gromit. Cornelia I'm glad Josie was able to help in stashing away all the vittles, what a giving person she is. Michael congratulations on your great feat of chief engineer in getting Gromit to the Galapagos! We miss you all and will continue to pray for you and celebrate in your accomplishments! No hurry but what's next?
Esse Quam Videri
Giant Tortoises
12//05/2010, San Cristobal Island, Galapagos


Zoe's Post
08//05/2010, Pacific Ocean en Route to the Galapagos

Day 8 on the ocean

Today, I really worked on school because, if I get this term done before we get to the Galapagos, I get the whole time we're there off from school! I really don't like school, but the sooner I get done the sooner I am free for the summer!!! Our strategy; get it done on the ocean so when we get to land we are free!!!!
We are still sad about Artemo, our friends who had boat problems. They had to turn around and go back to Panama. I often look out over the empty ocean(empty from how I'm looking at it)and picture where Artemo should be with all her sails up gliding with us. But as mush as I imagine, it's still as empty as before. Come back Artemo!!!! We miss you guys a lot.
Right now its hot. Not sweating our guts out hot, but just hot. That's because mom just baked fresh bread and we just ate lunch which means the stove is on. At night, it gets cold enough that I have to close my hatch. So, during the day, I wear a bathing suit and at night I wear a T-shirt and shorts.
Yesterday, I baked blueberry muffins, and chocolate cake. Tomorrow, I hope to make dinner!!! It seems that when we're on the ocean we eat better than when we are near shore. We get meals like hamburgers, chicken burgers, squash soup, chili, fish, plantain...
We are now in the Galapagos it so cool! Liam is says that there are seals out side of the boat right now.
Going to see them...

08//05/2010 | Eliza
Great job Zoe getting your schoolwork done! Now you have more play/explore time on the island. Wait until you see how the animals there are not afraid of you. Sorry to hear about your friends on Artemo, but the good thing is that they are safe and doing the best thing. Keep eating well, you have to stay healthy on a boat!...Eliza
09//05/2010 | Julie and Amelia
We miss you, we miss you, we miss you. We are working like crazy every day so that hopefully we can catch you again. Big hug.
10//05/2010 | Aunt Ollie
Glad to hear that your school work is done. Your pictures are great we need to see one with all 3 of you together. Baba wants to see how much you have grown. I guess you will be a chef soon or maybe a baker.. Let us know what you find exploring. Love you and miss you all very much Be safe

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Who: Michael, Cornelia, Zoe, Maia, Liam. Photo: At Tilloo Bank, Elbow Cay, Bahamas (photo by Frank Taylor)
Port: Toronto
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