New photo album and new report by Nicky17-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.
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...
Anchor Excitement14-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... ;-)
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Namani at Sea Impression