Friday, November 14, 2008

11-13-08 Galapagos

We are still anchored in Wreck Bay at Isla San Cristobal. The water is very clear, and cooler than we expected, around 65-69 degrees F. So far, we have been explored close to town and are saving the big trips inland for our guests, Nancy's brother and nephew, who arrive on Sunday. Today, we lined up a family scuba dive trip for Tuesday to a place called Kicker Rock. We hope to see Hammerhead sharks there. We have had several close encounters with Sea Lions which seem to be everywhere, and some
neat encounters with Marine Iguanas & Lava Lizards. Everyday, we go for a walk to some nearby cove or beach. One day snorkeling, another day, swimming. Just looking around at all the birds and critters. Fletcher has surfed once at Canons, and today we will try Tonga Reef. This island is famous for its surfing, so he is very excited to be here.

The town here is very clean and newly renovated for the influx of tourism. Right now, we are on the edge of high season, so there aren't too many people and we are able to still work some deals on tours. Food here is less expensive than we had expected. Yesterday, we went to the mercado and got two full bags of fruits and vegetables for $10.00 . Lunch, (Almeurzo)which includes soup, fresh juice, the days selection of meat, salad and rice is $2.50. Last night, we went out for dinner and had a
shrimp plate for $4.00, and a lobster plate for $6.00. Of course there are the more expensive tourist oriented restaurants, but we try to stay away from these. On Wednesday, we are planning on sailing overnight with our guests to another island called Isabella which is even less touristy and has more critters. There we hope to see some penguins and flamingos.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

11-9-08, Anchor Down Galapagos

We are anchored safely at Isla San Cristobal, Galapagos at 0830. It took us exactly five days. It would have been shorter, but we had to slow down to arrive at sun up in the anchorage. All in all, we had a great passage and sailed 95% of the time. Had a little rain on our way into the anchorage early this morning, but the sun is now coming out. There are only three other sailboats here and after breakfast we will start exploring the island. First, we will have to complete our check in procedure.
We did get an agent to get us our permit, so hopefully, check in will be relatively painless. We may wait until tomorrow, since it is Sunday. We have gotten the boat straightened up from the passage. Everything gets a little crazy, dirty and salty underway. Now we are just relaxing and catching up on a couple of things and resting up from five days with minimum amounts of uninterrupted sleep.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Saturday 11-8-08 Land Ho!!!

Day 5 - Sighted land at 1500 hrs.

Had a really nice sail yesterday with sunshine and calm seas while going 6-7 kts. Sunset was accompanied by several young humpback whales. They were breaching and spy-hopping and tail slapping. They were halfway between near and far and quite the sight to see. We had a windy night and were sailing about 5-6 kts with all of the sails reefed down. A little more rolly than earlier in the day, but we were making good time. All is well on board, we are getting into the swing of being at sea. We
just kind of hang out. It is too rolly to play cards, play games or do school. Everyone has been reading and reading, with eating in between. We will have a lot of work to do once we get to the islands, just cleaning up the boat and catching up on things that should have been done along the way. Sia, the cat, has had slight improvement. Hour by hour, we are hoping for the best or planning for the worst. We shall see if she pulls through. Dana is very excited that the last of the Wahoo has
been eaten. We had yummy fish sandwiches for lunch with the leftovers of the grilled fish from last night. We have a basil plant on board now, so there was even some diced up fresh basil in the mix. Really delicious, better by far than tuna! We should arrive at the anchorage on San Cristobal early morning Sunday.

Friday, November 7, 2008


Here we are, past the point of no return. Our coordinates as of 1400 are: 00.22 south, 086.27 west. We are about 350 miles out from the coast of Ecuador, sailing along with some great winds. Today, it has been about 12-18 knots out of the south-southwest. That puts the wind right off our beam. We have been doing a steady 6-7 knots all night and day. That is pretty spectacular for this old, fat boat! The seas are about 6 feet with wind chop on top of that. Not bad, but we are not able to get
much done either since we are heeled over pretty far. The only problems with all this, is that being heeled over so far, our generator output is too far under the water on one side and overheats because the exhaust can't push out and then our watermaker is on the uphill side and is just sucking air instead of water. Yesterday, we were joined by two red footed Boobies. They are so cute and funny. They kept us entertained for hours, especially on the night watch. Our watches have been going pretty
smoothly, Dana has from 8-10 pm, Fletcher has 10-12, Mike comes on at midnight and goes as long as he can before he wakes Nancy to take us through the night and beyond the dawn. Usually, by 8:00 everyone else is up and Nancy can go lie down.

Dana is hoping that tonight is the last of our fresh fish for dinner. That Wahoo that we caught the first day is lasting a long time. Hopefully, all of the other meats that we had bought will still be good. It would be helpful to have a freezer, but, we don't. Breakfast most days has been cereal, lunch has been PBJ's, quesadillas, mac and cheese and other easy snack food. Dinner everyday has been that fish. It is delicious, but it will be nice to have something else for dinner tomorrow!

On another note, yesterday, Sia (who has been sick with some kind of liver ailment) had some kind of convulsions, stroke, we are not sure. She was sort of paralyzed and contorted all day yesterday. Today, I did lots of massage and my version of kitty physical therapy and she seems to be responding. All of her legs push back against me now. Her head is still a bit tweaked to one side, but she does not seem to be in any pain. She still responds by wagging her tail and purring when she is pet.
We still have not given up hope, although yesterday surely tested us.

We are looking at getting to the Galapagos on Sunday morning. We can't wait to be anchored, although it has been a beautiful sail, it will be weird to have the boat sort of level under us and to be able to open cabinets without all of the contents spilling out and rolling all over the boat! Sometimes it takes all four of us to get one thing out of a cupboard. One person opens the door, one holds the person who is trying to get something out and hold everything else in and the other person grabs
whatever is meant to come out. Sort of a Laurel and Hardy routine, but it seems to be working and gets the whole family involved in even the simple tasks!

Thursday, November 6, 2008


We are in the evening of our second day. As of 7pm, we are at 00.09 south, 082.48 west. Good winds and a bit confused seas. This makes for a little more uncomfortable ride. We started the morning about 100 miles off shore with a visit by a couple of near misses with some long liners. You would picture these coming from bit factory ships or something similar, but it was just two guys to a panga, laying their line and guarding their area. Pretty amazing to see them that far out in the ocean.
Nancy first saw the panga and flag of the one to starboard, and then a couple of minutes later of the one to port. Mike was awakened to check out the situation. The panga on the port approached us first and asked for some water, which would have been fine, but we discovered that we do not have any extra water bottles on board. We gave them some of our expired water packs from our life raft (that we just had serviced). Then, the other panga approached about 15 minutes later to tell us where his
net was. One of the fellows was rubbing his belly, so we gave him some crackers along with some more of the water packs. That was our excitement for the day. Oh yea, there was also Nancy getting sick after lunch. Now that was exciting! Anyway, things are good. It seems that the seas are calming down a bit. Yesterday we made 95 miles. It should take us 6 days at this rate.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Desiderata update, 11-4-08,

Here we are, about 45 miles off the coast of Ecuador, at 00.17 South, 08.107 West. We headed out due west at about 6:30 am after being boarded and checked out by the Port Captain. Four boats left at same time. Two headed north and one south. We are the only ones going out to the Galapagos. We have had 10-12 knots out of the west southwest. We caught a four foot wahoo in the afternoon, and are currently putting on the grill and looking forward to a delicious dinner. We just had our first dolphin
sighting and it was special. There were several Risso's Dolphins mixed in with the common dolphins. They are very cute, with their rounded, light heads. Hopper was very excited. Sia is still very sick, but we are giving liquids every couple of hours and have to help her to relieve herself. This was challenging enough when we were in a calm anchorage, but we are managing. Nancy was laying down most of the day, and ended up getting a bladder infection as well as sea sick. So much fun. It was
still a pretty nice day all in all.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Papers are in hand

We have received our permit to visit the Galapagos. Thursday we made a trip into the city to pick up any final parts and to provision. Friday we tried all day to get our final paper work from the port captain but needed to go back Saturday to complete the process. Tuesday morning @0600 we will need to have a final inspection from the port captain before we can finally leave the estuary.
Getting any boat ready to do a passage is nuts with all of the last minute projects, but as usual with us we have that plus 10 fold. Nancy is dealing with a grievence with her neighbor in Santa Barbara which now has been turned over to the city and needs to be dealt with before we depart or face some fines. We still have not finalized any work to be done and are still waiting to hear back from several people. Next, Nancy's dad is not in good health and last Thursday had an accident which set him back even more. Fourteen days ago Sia Nancy's cat got very sick and yesterday we had a vet come out to put her down but decided to keep trying to bring her back. Then if that isn't enough, last week Dana got bit by something and this morning her arm really hurt so we took her to the doctor and he gave her several shots and we need to see him tomorrow.
All in all we are keeping a positive attitude and are doing our best to get everything done.
The boat and her systems are ready to go.