16 February 2019 | San Blas
17 January 2019 | Bonaire
Galapagos to Marquesas Day 3
21 April 2019
We have been sailing for nearly 72 hours and have settled into a routine of 6 hour watches at night (Bill sleeps from 8pm to 2am). It may sound horrendous to land lovers but we nap in the day and don't feel too deprived.
Our first 32 hours was slow with a mixture of sailing and motoring but we now have a consistent wind of force 4/5 and have been cracking on at a good 8kts covering 450 miles in total (only 2600 to go). We are looking at a new 24 hour run record for Krabat! Will let you know next posting.
Cooking is a bit of a challenge at this angle of wind, it's on the beam causing the boat to heel. . Trying to cook while holding on to stop your feet sliding downhill reminds me of that popular TV show It's a Knockout. I would be a good contestant as perseverance produced a delicious meal last night. Fresh caught tuna lightly seasoned with rice and a cooked tomato. It was the first Tuna we've ever caught. Just a small Bonito but big enough for 3 generous meals- the rest is in the freezer.
17 April 2019
Our time in Galapagos has been fabulous, the wildlife amazing and we're very reluctant to move on. Isabela island was our favourite and our best tour was to Los Tunnels. However the time has come and tomorrow 18th April we set sail for the Marquesas in French Polynesia which are over 3,000 miles away.
We will be at sea for approximately 20-25 days (I know this sounds horrifying) but once you settle into a routine it's not so bad. I'm looking forward to some fishing anyway.
We will update the blog via our satellite system but this does not link to Facebook so you will need to access via our link
I've updated the picture gallery so please have a look.
San Cristobal, Galapagos
05 April 2019
As we drifted into Wreck Bay to anchor you couldn't help but notice the sea lions swimming around the boats and basking on the beaches. They are everywhere, very amusing to watch but a bit smelly so sea lion defences were quickly deployed to prevent them climbing into the cockpit. We did though have a little friend sleeping on the bathing platform from time to time.
Just 15 mins walk from the centre of town is the Interpretation Centre explaining the uniqueness of the Galapagos. The path continues out towards the headland and we came upon a cove where we had a delightful swim with the sea lions. They're so playful and mischievous you forget they're wild animals.
The Galapagos islands and waters are a National Park and visitors must adhere to the strict rules put in place to protect this fragile ecosystem. Many places of interest can only be accessed with a Park Guide and this of course means booking an organised tour (at great expense!).
Our first tour was a boat trip out to the mighty impressive Kicker Rock to snorkel through the gigantic gaps in the rock. Our expectations were high, hoping to glimpse the sharks and Manta Rays but alas on the day we saw none. Still, it was quite thrilling drifting with the current between the mighty vertical rock walls.
The following day we stuck to land and hired some dodgy mountain bikes to take us up into the highlands. Once at the top we took a short walk around the El Junco lake (a volcanic crater), then stopped for lunch before braving the heat walking around the Giant Tortoise reserve. It's estimated 100,000 tortoises once lived on San Cristóbal but with centuries of exploitation, rats, goats and depletion of habitat there are approximately 2000 remaining. To avoid extinction Tortoise eggs are collected, incubated and once hatched remain in the reserve for approx five to eight years before being released back into the wild. These magnificent creatures can live up to 200 years.
Our afternoon ended with a lovely dip in the sea to cool down. I must say it's the best cycling I've ever done. We took a taxi for all the uphill and free wheeled all the way down (hey we're on the equator, it's bloomin hot!)
Our third trip was to Punta Pitt on the other side of the island to see the endemic Galapagos Boobies.
It was a long two hour ride by boat to get to Punta Pitt but the reward was worth it. John our Park Guide first took us snorkelling and at last we saw our sharks. They were white tipped sharks and they were just 3 metres below us. Exciting!
Later we were dingyed ashore to hike in search of the Boobies. There are three types, the Blue footed, Red footed and the Nazca. We had the privilege of observing these wonderful birds at close quarters. Our guide made the tour really informative and interesting.
Have a look at the picture gallery, I know I've been snap happy. Who wouldn't when the wildlife is just within a few feet of you. Such an amazing place.
27 March 2019
Oh wow, can’t believe we’re in the Galapagos!
We arrived yesterday 26th March after a six day sail and amazingly, as we were supposedly going through the doldrums, only motored for 45 hours out of the 142. We are now in the Southern Hemisphere and celebrated the crossing of the equator with some bubbly (although I will confess that it was some white wine fizzed up in the Sodastream - not a very good idea as when I released the bottle it exploded and we spent ages mopping up. What was left was great, just like a Prosecco).
The Galapagos authorities are extremely bureaucratic especially about biosecurity. Our agent representative Karina was waiting in a water taxi just as we were anchoring in Wreck Bay on the island of San Cristobal. Karina advised us that she would be back later with the officials. Sure enough a couple of hours later Karina returned with 8 officials! There was a National Park Reserve officer, Naval officer, Doctor, Immigration, Biosecurity and dear knows who the other two were. It was bedlam, our cupboards were looked through, fridge checked, first aid box and all our medications checked . The diver was sick so we didn’t get our hull checked (if following our blog you’ll already know the expense and lengths of keeping our bottom clean!). All sorts of pieces of paper were put under our noses to sign but eventually all was satisfactory and off they all went. They weren’t on the boat very long and the checks weren’t actually that thorough but hay ho, we all played the game.
At last we took the water taxi ashore and were greeted by the sea lions basking on the pontoon. We found a very nice spot for some lunch and familiarised ourself with the town, and sussed out what tours we wanted to do over the next few days.
We can’t wait to get snorkelling with the sharks, sea-lions, rays and turtles. Hiking to see the giant tortoises, rare birds and iguanas. If you love wildlife this is your paradise.
Passage to Galapagos - Day 3
22 March 2019
We are into day 3 of our crossing to the Galapagos The winds are fairly light although dying to nearly nothing in the night. We've been using our downwind Parasailor which looks spectacular when up but a bit of a beast to get down if the winds pick up too much. The great advantage of this sail is that we make good speed in lighter winds and yesterday we were making 9kts.
After leaving Panama we passed through the Las Perlas Islands which were really delightful but our time schedule only allowed us to spend a couple of nights at anchor there. We passed Islands, home and breeding ground for many sea birds and it was a delight watching hundreds of pelicans diving for fish.
At our last anchorage we rafted up to A Cappella as Julian had a Hooker system which is an air pump and breathing apparatus which allowed Julian and Bill to dive and give our hulls one final clean before heading to the Galapagos (we will be inspected on arrival to ensure we are not carrying any invasive species, if so we will be sent 40 miles back out to sea with a diver to get rid of anything clinging to the hull). It was quite an exhausting job but we are confident that we now have clean bottoms!
On our first day there was no wind and the sea was glassy flat calm and we spotted two whales
while still in Las Perlas and then further out to sea we were entertained by Rays swimming near the surface and leaping out to our great amusement.
We are back into the swing of 5 hour watches at night and having a little nap in the day. We are in daily touch with A Capella of Belfast who are about 15 miles ahead but are further south of us. We are definitely the tortoise but managing to keep to the rhumb line so hopefully won't be too far behind at the end.
When sending a blog update via our satellite system it does not appear to link to Facebook. We will read the instructions again and try to link it but we think the problem is to do with Facebook changing their API (beyond me!).
Goodbye Panama City
17 March 2019
Panama City is home to 2 million people and sits on the waters edge looking like a mini Manhattan yet just a short ride away, across the Americas Bridge, you will find yourself back in the rainforest. It’s certainly a contrast in extreme being modern, vibrant and cosmopolitan.
We’re anchored several miles outside of the city centre. The marina is situated on one of three islands that are linked by a giant causeway, the rock and boulders being from the Culebra Cut (where the Americas meet) during the construction of the canal. It was a pleasant walk along the Amador Causeway looking across to the city and onto the excellent Biomuseo where we learnt a lot about Panamanian history and the isthmus.
The old colonial city is definitely worth wandering around. Once run down it now has trendy restaurants and boutique hotels and a great place to take your picture with the skyscrapers in the background. We found the wacky Diablicos Panamanian restaurant and enjoyed the specialty Ceviche for lunch. We wanted to visit the Panama Canal Museum but it was Monday and unfortunately for us closed.
We took the opportunity to indulge in a bit of retail therapy so headed out to the Albrook Mall now the 14th largest in the world. It was so big and full of designer shops it kind of overwhelmed us and we sadly left with just a couple of tea towels! I must add that the designer look is definitely not a practical attire for the long distance sailor, nor is coiffured hair (what’s a hairdryer?) and stepping into a dingy in high heels is just ridiculous, so perhaps for now shopping malls are not for us.
We did find some shops more to our liking with the guide from our friends Patricia and Julian. Later to celebrate our purchases we headed to the nearby Hard Rock Hotel and took the lift to the 62nd floor to the Bar in the Sky and watched the sun go do down and the city light up.
We were in desperate need of haircuts. I’m quite fussy, can’t speak Spanish and worried how to explain exactly what I wanted. But what’s the problem when you have Google translate?
I happened upon a woman’s salon, typed on my phone that I just wanted a trim and between my thumb and forefinger showed the woman exactly how many millimetres I wanted off. Can you imagine my absolute horror when on first cut she lopped off 2 inches from the back! Well you can’t stick it back on so I had to let her continue but I feel like a shorn sheep!
Bill was very satisfied with his haircut, he found a cheap basement barbershop and only charged $5.
Alas it’s time to move on. We’ve checked out with the Port Officer and will sail today (17th March) towards the Las Perlas islands (this is where the city dwellers enjoy their weekend breaks)
On Tuesday 20th we will begin our 900 miles sail to the Galápagos Islands and plan to arrive on the 27th March.
I’ve posted pics in the gallery so do have a look.