Thursday, April 9, 2015

Final scenes from The Galapagos

Fool's gold in Cueva Sucre, a lava tunnel.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Bella Isabela (The Galapagos, Part 2)

Holy penguins Batman!
Conrad and Mark met some new boat friends in Santa Cruz (Matias and Lucas from Bob the Cat). They had great fun playing in the big waves at Tortuga beach in Santa Cruz and dodging the baby blacktip sharks getting washed onto shore. They were sad to leave but excited to see their friends from Mandala, Amelie IV, Kazaio, and Zorba on Isabela.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Isla San Cristobol and Isla Santa Cruz (Galapagos, Ecuador)

San Cristobol is home to a huge colony of sea lions.
We paid a lot of money to come to the Galapagos. When you consider that many of the islands in the Caribbean were completely free to cruise or at the most under $100 US, the $1600 we paid for our autografo (a permit that allows us to cruise to three islands; 1-island permits are cheaper) is expensive. Granted, it's cheaper than the $4000 or so that it costs to fly from Chicago but is still pretty rich for our blood.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Panama to Galapagos



We beached our boat at Isla Espiritu Santo in Las Perlas. The tides are so big that you can drive your boat onto one of several flat sand beaches at low tide, do your out-of-water tasks, and then wait for the tide to come back up.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Now we wait...

New passports picked up. Check!
Boat's waterline lowered from 132 eggs, tons of produce, full diesel tanks, full gas tanks, and full water tanks. Check!

Last ice-cream cones eaten in civilization for awhile. Check!
Wind to get us to the Galapagos. [Sound of sad clown horn].

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

If I only had a brain...


So Ecuador is out. We noticed that a couple of our passports expire in a year. Since most places require that you have a passport that will be valid for at least 6 months from your arrival and there are not a lot of U.S. Embassies in the South Pacific, we decided to have ours renewed in Panama City. When we broke the news to Conrad and Mark that we had changed our mind yet again (we had also recently changed plans about Peru), Conrad happily drew this parallel: "It's like we're the Scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz--it's like we don't have a brain!" From the mouths of babes...

These hamburger seed pods are much coveted in the Caribbean.
They have greatly challenged my minimalist aspirations.
I couldn't stop picking them up...
The passport application process in Panama City was very straightforward and our passport was actually ready in six days. We left the anchorage in La Playita and headed to Las Perlas to wait for our new passports. La Playita is very roll-y and crowded. When we returned to the boat the day before we left, a friend informed us that a boat had dragged anchor into us. Later that evening, the same boat (which was very close) bumped into us as the wind died and the anchored boats pointed every which way. Conveniently, he does gel coat repairs and promised that he would fix the dings. Still, we enjoyed the change of scenery for awhile.

More hoarding...

Perlas has amazing beaches, though they're a lot smaller at high tide.

Black sand had the consistency of flour. Yup, that's all they're wearing.

We got to join up with some kid boat friends again. Yay!
Conrad and Mark are glad to be back to beaches and spend their time digging the Biggest Holes Ever and playing in the surf. We have spent what seems like an inordinate amount of time scraping the bottom in preparation for The Galapagos, where they are reportedly very strict about bringing in any extraneous critters. I experienced 2 tiny crabs in my ear canal, one of which was in there for several hours before I realized it might not be residual water (it saw the literal light at the end of the tunnel and jumped out when Matt shone a flashlight into my ear). We have seen fishing bats, giant grasshoppers, and a tiny octopus that attached to Matt's wetsuit after cleaning the boat.


Fish eating bats.

 
 
 

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Panama City, Panama (not Florida)

 
Whenever we do a Google search on 'Panama City', it brings up pages relating to the town in Florida. It must be our use of English rather than Spanish.
 
A new watch battery for $3. The eye-piece is mounted in a plastic
soda bottle cap. Gotta love the ingenuity.
We met one local who said that Panama City is like Miami. It does have a similar tropical setting, with tall white buildings and urban hustle and bustle. Unlike it's grittier sister city, Colon, most areas seem completely safe at any time of the day or night. And its Old Town adds a charming European flavor to the mix. Generally, the people are friendly and helpful, unlike a lot of other big cities.