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Namani at Sea
The travels of Nana, Markus and Nick aboard Namani
New photo album and new report by Nicky
17-Mar-2012

Finally (we heard you, Dave ;-), some new photos from the Panama - Galapagos passage. As the Sailblogs photo manager is pretty clumsy we will post the photos on Picasa from now on (the old ones will stay in the Sailblogs Gallery, see link to the right). Click here for the new album.

Nicky has also posted a new school report about life on a sailboat in the open ocean. It can be found here.

09 - Pacific Crossing
Swimming with the sharks...
16-Mar-2012, Anchored off Cristobal, Galapagos

We had two very nice days here yesterday and today, finally exploring a bit of the plant and wild life that the Galapagos are famous for. After some school and boat work in the morning we went up to Cristobal's Interpretative Center yesterday afternoon. The center has a good exihibit on the history of the Galapagos Islands, with a focus on the development over the last ~300 years. One striking exhibit was about how little of all the money spent on high-end tourism in the Galapagos actually stays in the islands (we'll get a photo one of these days). Little mention though of the tremendous population growth (influx from mainland Ecuador) over the past 30 years...

From the Center a short walk took us up to an observation point with a great view of Frigate Birds spiraling up some thermos in a in one of Cristobals bays. Down from there we had a short dip with mask and snorkel in that very bay, with an obligatory visit from some sea lions.

Back in town we decided to book a snorkel tour on one of the local dive boats for today. This turned out to be a real high light. At "Kicker Rock", one of the stops about 1/2 a mile off Cristobal, we got to see Pacific Sea Green Turtles, Sea Lions and Galapagos Sharks, all happily hanging out together in a crack/channel between to sections of the rock. Apparently light and current in there makes this a favorite hang-out spot for these creatures (or they just come to have a look at those snorkeling humans...). It was amazing to float in there right in the middle of a group of 7 or 8 turtles, going past sea lions and having sharks swim back and forth underneath. Nana even had a face-to-face encounter with a sea lion who looked at her about a foot away from her mask to check her out. We were probably lucky that our underwater camera had stopped working earlier today, so we could simply enjoy floating among these creatures without being distracted by picture taking.

Much more to explore over the coming days. Tomorrow however Nicky has an appointment however, to play soccer with the son of the Navy officer who checked us into the Galapagos...

09 - Pacific Crossing
Anchor Excitement
14-Mar-2012, Anchored off Cristobal, Galapagos

Our fifth day in the Galapagos - an interesting one as it turned out... The bottom here here is a mix of sand, some small gravel and patches of bigger rocks in about 6 meters of depth at low tide, 8 meters at high tide. Our anchor is well set in a sandy patch (which we found on Saturday after a few attempts that ended on rock). However, with 40m of chain out and boats turning in all directions with wind and tides it seems almost inevitable that part of the chain ends up on top of some rocks. It appears that between yesterday morning and today Namani has swung around and wrapped our chain around some bigger rock which then tipped over and solidly jammed the chain. We had been trying unsuccessfully to free the chain with snorkel and fins for some time when our very helpful neighbors joined. Ultimately it took Manfred and Thoralf with full scuba gear and a big bolt cutter as a crow bar to move the rock of our chain. We had previously tried to disconnect the chain from the boat and slide it out under the rock (with Namani temporarily hanging off the stern of our French neighbors, Alain and Veronique's boat) but to no avail - so it took two divers and bolt cutters to do the job. We've now tied three fenders spaced at 7.5m intervals along the chain to float it above the rocks. All in all a 4 1/2 hour operation - many thanks to all who helped! Other news from Namani: Bill left on Monday morning to meet Bonnie and their tour in St. Cruz. Thanks Bill for joining us again! Nana went with Bill to St. Cruz to scope out options for last minute tours from there. We got lucky and Nana and Nicky are now booked on a 4-day tour of the central islands from next Monday to Thursday. Papi will then do another day tour with Nicky (we're doing this in sequence in order not to leave the boat unattended for too long). Tomorrow we'll do a hike on St. Cristobal which we had originally planned for this afternoon - but the anchor intervened... ;-)

09 - Pacific Crossing

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