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.

We spent the morning giving our boat bottom one last scrub to get rid of any hitchhikers (barnacles, algae, etc.). The tide came up, we motored off the beach, and then after a short anchor we left for the Galapagos with our friends on Amelie IV. Mandala left shortly afterwards.
We were expecting the trip to take anywhere from six to ten days, depending on the wind (starting March 5). The forecast showed good winds for the first few days, with the winds lightening significantly afterwards. We were ecstatic when the winds mostly held, with some lulls, until the last day. We only had to motor sail for the last 18 hours of the trip. We arrived in just over six days, within hours of Mandala and Amelie IV. We were glad to have beat ten days because our friends who are flying in on the 15th.

The passage was rough at times but mostly comfortable. We saw pilot whales right next to the boat, a turtle eating a dead ray, loads of dolphins, and a big shark jumping out of the water (we think either mako or spinner shark). Our friends on Mandala saw a huge dead whale and got a marlin on their fishing line (it took the lure). We had a ceremony as we passed the Equator and turned from slimy pollywogs to faithful shellbacks.
That's a sea lion sleeping on our boat. They're better climbers
than we thought. Cute but they shed, smell and aren't house-broken.
As we pulled into the waters next to the lumpy landmass of San Cristobol, the sun was coming up and we could see millions of tiny blue glowing dots in the water. The water was so clear that it was like an aquarium teeming with tube worms, big colonies of lacy jellies, and dozens of turtles. We were greeted by sea lions, pilot whales, and dolphins. Mark and Conrad jumped up and down at the bow of the boat, yelling and pointing excitedly. We couldn't have asked for a better welcome.


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