Tag Archives: sailing

Arrived in Galapagos

We made it — just before dark. Anchored in Baquerizo Moreno and made a grand dinner. We deal with the customs/immigrations authorities in the morning.

Five and a half days is excellent time; we were lucky with the wind — we motored just one night, and we had no squalls. Relative to other boats we made better time than the boats that left Panama before us. But two boats that left the same day we did arrived about six hours before us. We think they motored a lot, but we don’t really know… I like that they, more than we, are looked at as the fast boats, setting an expectation that they will arrive first on future legs.

We had our first Galapagos wildlife(?) experience already, as we were relaxing in the cockpit waiting for dinner to cook. Tim heard a sound behind him, and turned around to find himself face to face with a sea lion! Apparently the sea lion had climbed up our transom steps and boarded without asking permission.

It’s hard to believe we are in the Galapagos. The actual experience so far does not match the romantic notions. We’re in a relatively busy harbor with too many lights and too much noisy nighttime activity. But to think we are in the Pacific Ocean, that we have crossed the equator, and we are now in the fabled islands of incredible animals and Darwin’s inspiration — wow!

Sailing Southwest

Light winds, no clouds, intense sun. We are at 3 degrees north latitude, so less than 200 miles from the equator. A major daytime activity aboard is finding comfortable places to sit in the shade. The sun is wicked hot by 8am. It is a welcome relief when it sets, and I can enjoy the sliver of setting moon, brilliant Jupiter, uncountable stars, and the occasional satellite or shooting star.

Last night we sailed very close to the Columbian island of Malpelo — a huge steep rock in the middle of nowhere. Some authority hailed us on the radio, asking who we were and where we are headed; I’m sure we violated Columbian territorial waters. “Mal pelo” translates to “bad hair.” I wondered about the name. But during the day we saw many sea birds that must nest on the island (there being no other place for many, many miles). I imagine that the island is covered with birds/nests, and that gets me wondering if the name comes from someone having a bad experience with birds flying overhead…

In the afternoon we saw several bits of trash in the water, all within 20 minutes or so. Not sure why we saw this concentration. My hope (I guess) is that someone dumped a pile of trash in one spot, rather than this being representative of the state of the whole ocean!

And then we saw a pod of whales. They were small (pilot whales?), but one put on quite a show by repeatedly jumping nearly clear of the water! There were maybe five in the pod. Naturally by the time I got my camera the jumper had ended his show, but still I got some pictures of them surfacing and blowing.

Here’s a reminder that you can see where we are in almost real time, and see the track we are following, on the Blue Planet Odyssey web site. (Look for “track the boats” or something akin to that.) Also, if you are interested in the winds and currents that we are experiencing, check out http://www.earth.nullschool.net. This site provides a wonderful visual representation of both wind and current anywhere on the planet. I wish we could access it when we’re at sea! For the past 2+ days we have had a 1 knot current in our favor, which is a treat, and which stems in part from us looking at the web site and planning our course accordingly.

Heading South…


Last the Maggie crew and we took a taxi across Panama City in search of a Whole-Foods-like store someone had described to Tim.  No luck.  But we saw a “gourmet delicatessen” along the way, and a nice-looking restaurant next to it.  So that’s where we went, and we had a delightful dinner, and then bought cold cuts, cheese, chocolate and other goodies.  We don’t have much in the fruits and veggies department; oh well.

Got underway this morning.  Sunny, hot and no wind.  Motored for about three hours until a little breeze came up directly behind us.  Put up the big spinnaker and had a delightful day of sailing.  Mid-afternoon the wind picked up and we started zipping along at nine knots.  Almost immediately we got a bite on the fishing lure we were trailing.  It ran all the line out of our reel before we got to it.  Luckily the fish pulled free of the hook rather than taking our gear.

Within minutes we had another strike. This time we reeled it in and gaffed it, but it got free before we could get it safely aboard and sedate it with some rum. It was a big one — two feet long, at least, and probably ten pounds.

Not to worry… within minutes we had another strike, and this time we successfully landed a small tuna. Maybe twenty inches long and five pounds. Tim and I sampled the sashimi as we filleted it. Very good! We made nori rolls with sticky rice, plus empanadas and salsa on the side. Lots of tuna left over for another meal.

It was a beautiful evening, blowing a comfortable (for going downwind) twenty knots, and we continued to fly the spinnaker into the night. Bad idea… Though the night was beautiful, the wind gradually increased, and with it the waves began to build, and by the middle of my watch (Bill and I switched watches, so I have 7 to 11 now) things were getting hairy. Top wind speed reached 28 knots. Top boat speed hit 17 knots, surfing on the waves. We were hitting 15 knots regularly as we surfed. We were overpowered, but I didn’t want to wake the others (if they were able to sleep in the mayhem), so I tried to wait it out. But the waves were pushing the boat off course faster than the autopilot could adjust, and the spinnaker would occasionally collapse as we headed up too far, and then collapse the other way as we would bear off too far. We were risking breaking something (probably the spinnaker), so finally I called, “All hands,” and we got it down. Now we are ambling along under jib alone, at about 6 knots. MUCH more peaceful! I think I’ll be able to sleep in my berth in the bow.

Wonderful day. Glorious night. I know I’m repeating myself, but I’m SO happy to be moving again.


A day of just the sun and the ocean and a few pelagic birds and us. Vast emptiness. Profound aloneness.