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Pacific Crossing Day 10 Friday 8th

All is well. Wanda’s making 5kn on a beam reach in 12kn of SSE wind. Pip caught a fish yesterday I think it was a baby tuna,but it broke the line lifting it aboard as she was only using a light line... landing net next time... still better to have caught and lost.. Pip baked bread, Nan breads and cooked curry last night.. with homemade mango chutney made with mangoes from Panama. Lovely.Fish night tonight... probably tuna...perhaps from a tin or perhaps from the sea. 2030Nm to go! Ke

Pacific Crossing Day 7 Tuesday 5th

All is well. Wanda’s doing 4-5kn on a beam reach in 10kn of SSE wind.Pip enjoyed watching a partial eclipse of the full moon and a spectacular sunrise while listening to Pink Floyd Dark side of the moon and Holst Planet Suite. Tuesday’s chilli night.2400Nm to go! Pip

Pacific Crossing Day 4 Saturday 2nd

All is well aboard. We have some wind so we are sailing a direct route to destination. Wind SE 3 Beam Reach, which is finehowever we have been hard up to wind for 2 days a bit unexpected. We are also surprised to see fishermen out here,100 miles from land and still seeing small fishing boats. This was a bit concerning at night as some of them came up to our boatI think to be friendly but we always feel vulnerable in that situation. Pip caught a big Dorado, lovely with spuds for dinner.Today its porridge for breakfast and pizza for tea. Only 2680 Nm to go!Kev

Off to the Marquesas

Our last evening in San Cristobal Galapagos... stowing away the provisions for the 3000 mile passage to Hiva Oa, an island in the Marquesas, French Polynesia. It will be the longest single passage we are ever likely to do- but the SE trades seem well established, but with nothing scary forecast, so we should be seeing land again in 30 days or less- or more! anything up to 6 weeks would be common, especially as the winds can be lighter rather than stronger, and it's too far to motor. We are well stocked, I counted 24 packets of pasta alone! Have also managed to swap some books, bought some more fishing gear, charged the i-pod and the e-reader, baked some fruitcake, checked for chafe, bought some more minutes on the satellite phone- talking of which, we will try and update the blog every 3 days as usual, but the sat phone was a little temperamental coming here, so no fretting if you dont hear from us. We are in good shape (Galapagos Gallop has been vanquished), the boat is in good shape (touch wood)- we are really looking forward to it all.

More Galapagos wildlife

Had an amazing day yesterday; we walked along to a beach called 'La Loberia'- ie 'Sealion Beach'. I've got a 'Guide to Galapagos Wildlife' card with pictures of the birds,fishes and animals one is likely to see here, its got tick boxes for when you spot them- bit like the 'I-Spy' books from my past-I was in a frenzy of 'ticking'!
As we were walking along the trail to the beach, there was a sign saying' spot the tracks in the sand- it's the marine iguanas going to and from the rocks'- and sure enough we followed some tracks and there were 2 huge iguanas stomping off towards the bushes. At the beach itself there was the usual collection of sealions, but it seemed to be a nursery because there were more than the usual number of very small pups and nursing mothers. Into the sea for a snorkel- just the most amazing amount of fish including: grouper, Streamer Hogfish (huge!), Blue-chin parrotfish, sergeant majors, white and yellow tailed damselfish, grunts, razor surgeonfish, moorish idols, King Angelfish, Hawkfis, Blennys, and huge shoals of both big fish and tiny little ones- so many you could hardly see where you were going. Most special of all was an enormous turtle about 4-5 foot in length- fantastic.
The sealions were pretty laidback here- at a different place called Cerro Tijeretas the young sealions seemed to like playing 'tag' with you- they would swim right up to you so you could almost touch them- then just as you reached out a hand they would wheel away but never too far, looking back the whole time as if to say 'can't catch me- your'e 'IT'.... great fun.
After our swim I went for a walk further up the beach and onto a footpath through the rocks and bushes- I had bare feet, but none of the sticks seemed too prickly- in fact I was just admiring the smooth curviness of one stick I was about to tread on when it wriggled and slithered away- tick the box for 'galapagos snake'! (luckily not venomous). There was the usual collection of lava lizards, carpenter bees, (all black, no yellow), Sulphur butterflies, crabs- both 'Sally Lightfoot' and land hermit crabs; dragonflies, painted locusts, many finches and Yellow warblers. New bird 'spots' were a male frigate bird showing his bright red throat, an American oystercatcheer and a striated heron. There were a fair number of Boobies as well; the blue-footed boobies really do have the most brilliant big startlingly blue feet, they make you laugh out loud- they're a bit like clowns with oversized bright blue shoes on. There were more iguanas on the rocks- including one I got very close too to get some photos- until it spat loudly and violently in 3 directions- it's only salt water but quite an effective deterrent! They really are stunningly ugly, I think I read Darwin called them 'imps from hell'- anyway they resemble bad-tempered punks with mohican haircuts. I think they're great!

Birds, whales, dolphins, seals
05/13/2012, San Cristobal, Galapagos

Loving it here in the Galapagos Islands. The passage here was one of the most interesting so far- such a variety of weather conditions, wildlife. and incidents.
We had 2 visitors on the boat- one a HUGE moth about 4 inches long, and the other was 'Fluffy', a juvenile red footed Booby bird who perched on our pullpit (the rail round our bow) for long periods on 3 or 4 days. We also saw frigate birds bullying terns; turtles, some small whales, and 2 different sorts of dolphins- a group of 4 big dolphins swam near us for ages, rolling over on their sides to look at us, then rolling back and slapping their tails on the water so we got splashed. The other group were smaller, they whizzed up to us, did a load of acrobatics, then whizzed off- and that was when we saw the whales; we are always a bit worried when we see whales because there have been incidents of whales sinking yachts- but these were small, and seemed to be minding their own business and not interested in us at all- thankfully!
I might give up fishing. In 8000 miles I've only cuaght and landed 2 fish. On the passage here I caught 3 things- first a seabird that spotted a shiny new lure of mine and dived to catch it- it was awful towing the poor thing behind the boat, so I pulled it on, onto the deck, threw a towel over it then managed to get the hook out of it's beak- and off it flew. Second was the marlin- I was down below and heard a huge bang- I thought something major had broken on the boat. Got on deck just in time to see an enormous marlin jumping out of the water, arching it's back, classic; thankfully the line had snapped near the boat becuase there's no way I could have landed it yet alone 'dealt' with it on board! Third thing I caught was- the line around our propellor... we had been tacking back and forth, trying to get a sensible direction to sail in after a squall had spun us round the wrong way, when I heard a strange humming sound- the fishing line was tight under the boat and when Kevin looked the propshaft wasn't spinning freely. Kevin had the good idea of turning the propshaft backwards by hand as I carefully pulled on the line- thankfully it worked and most of it unravelled before it snapped. When we got into harbour the firstt thing I did was dive down to see if the rest was still wrapped round the propellor- but thankfully it was clear, as is the water here- and an amazing amount of huge fish were swimming round the boat eating up the goose barnacles that seemed to have sprouted overnight. Then Kevin called me to get back on the boat quick- he'd seen some 'fins' in the water he didn't like the loook of- but it turned out it was just sealions. They're everywhere here- they lie about all over the harbour steps and on the park benches just like a bunch of dossers. They try and get on your boat; thankfully there is a water taxi so you dont have to eject 'visitors' from your dinghy when you go ashore.

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