Anchor Down

We are anchored in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno on the island of San Cristobal in the Galapagos, arriving at 08300 this am.

We sailed for 21 days from Los Frailes near La PAz in Baja Mexico. We covered 2087 miles for an average of about 100 miles per day. We had perhaps 3 or 4 days when the wind was over 10 knots and 4 days when the wind was completely absent.

Don Anderson called it a ‘classic, textbook winter passage from Mexico to the Galapagos’.

We motored for 100 hrs in no wind and against a current of up to 2 knots. A bit painful, and too hot. We probably used about 130 litres of diesel.

No gear or crew failures.

Plenty of water, food and fuel.

We have completed the check-in procedure and have 3 weeks at our disposal , if we decide to stay that long.

We were obliged to use an agent to check in which cost us $75 on top of the various fees such as immigration , $10 each and $30 for the boat, and another $145 for port fees bringing the total to about $300 . There is also a $100 per person fee for the National Park.

We had an Ecuador Pilsener and a a rum drink called , I think, a Caparaiha. And an Ice Cream.

Ecuador uses only American dollars.

We have already seen a big Iguana and a Darwin’s Finch. We can swim off the boat.

Time to have a look around , maybe take a ferryboat to another island or two , ride a bike around this island , then get ready for another big sailing trip. There are about 10 other yachts here, almost all of them having come from the Panama Canal. Many Europeans , a few Canadians , and one American. New best friends already.

In the Archipelago

We are steaming through the Galapagos having made landfall (as in sighted land) last evening but not landing . No anchorage yet. Still motoring. Going on for 4 days of motoring now. We had 4 lovely hours of sailing early this morning , but it didn’t last. This is the 20 th day. We have 80 miles to go to get to Wreck Bay on San Cristobal. We will likely arrive there in the small hours tomorrow , as we are still stemming a current. A current that sweeps up from the Cape Horn region and combines with the South Equatorial Current east of here , and pushes through the Galapagos relentlessly, without pause or reversal or respite. The air is a little cooler at 25 degr C and the sea surface temp has plummeted from 30 degr last midnight to 28 degr C at the moment.

The appearance of the islands is similar to Hawaii from a distance , which is not at all surprising , both groups being of “volcanic hotspot” origin “away from the margins of tectonic plates”. The islands are spread out , with 20 to 40 miles separating the major ones.

We have the smell of land aboard. Not an intertidal smell but that of bush vegetation and moist earth. We have been bathing daily so its not that.

We have rainshowers , frequent since yesterday , with black towering clouds around. No lightning though.

The rainshowers are discrete and focused enough on the radar screen that I had to keep looking out for ship lights, but rainshowers don’t have lights. Right now we are in the middle of one that looks like a big pointillist rorschach blot, wait! I can see the face of Jesus in there ! No ,it’s a map of Ireland !

I am neurotic enough that I am surprised that the engine and all its attachments continues to run flawlessly. No oil consumption. No loose belts. No coolant loss. Clean transmission fluid. Clean bilge underneath.

Meredith made pressure cooker Bran Loaf this morning. The “key” as told to me, is to not allow the pressure to drop during the process ( anesthesiologists can identify with this) and then to depressurise fairly quickly after the loaf is cooked. We think that these factors prevent moisture from condensing on the top of the loaf, which allows for a more ‘loaf’ like baked appearance. And gets away from the appearance of something that was discovered behind the couch about two weeks after your old Labrador dog died unexpectedly. But not shrivelled and with no crust, and certainly with no crop of hairy fungus that one might see on the retro-couch unit. Better tasting too.

Meredith remembered that when we encountered Darren and Tamera on Paudeen at sea halfway home from Hawaii in 2002 , Tamera had just made some ‘pressure cooker cookies’ aboard. I know other people that measure and mark their lives with recipes and meals as the indicators and footnotes.

The taste is the same. I mean it tastes good regardless of the appearance of the top surface. Not that it tastes like old stomach contents.

Someone sat on her Kindle unit last night , so that’s wrecked, screen cracked. I asked ,’is it like glass?’ ‘No , more like a ceramic pot’. Subtle. She has to finish her Patricia Cornwell novel on my Kindle. Mayhap we won’t be so cavalierly overboarding books any more. We have succesfully sat on many books.

I am in the middle of ‘First Lady of the Air’ a bio of Anne Morrow Lindbergh. And ‘ How to Be Good’ by Nick Hornby. Very funny and good depiction of over wrought middle class lives. I think I’ve read it before but it is good and funny the second time too. I think I might have lived parts of it , too.

I popped outside to have an eyeball around. Little cold pinpricks of rain on my bare skin. I will have to seriously consider a shirt soon. It is quite possible that this time tomorrow we will be getting outside of a hamburger and salad in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno ( and ,no, I don’t know the origin of that mouthful of a name, yet).

You can see the Storm Petrels touch their feet to the water surface , but I cannot see any transfer of anything to their mouths , nor do I see their mouths near the sea surface. How do they actually feed ?

Earthquake in Christchurch , no other facts available. Unrest in Libya.

What about the hijacked yacht in the Red Sea , the Quest from California with 4 onboard?

Land Ho

Well we can see it , Isla Isabella of the Galapagos.

But we will be another day or two getting to the chosen anchorage of Baquerizo Moreno on San Cristobal. We are not permitted to stop anywhere in the islands before that. People on yachts do stop in other places but they must be prepared to deal with displeased officials and be prepared to leave at a moment’s notice.

We have a light headwind and a steady 1.5 knot current against us. Joy.

Shearwaters and or Petrels at dawn. They disappeared before I could glass them this morning.

We swam again yesterday. Still no sharks. Water temp 30 dgr C,: 8 degr below body temp, just enough for a little cooling.

Onverra is arriving at Pitcairn today , and Firewater has another 3 or 4 days to Hilo. I also spoke with Robin on Katydid who is sailing from Punta de Mita to Zihuatenejo.

Time for some muffins , I think.