Posted by: catamarantwooceans | April 23, 2009

To the Galapagos

19.04.09 – Sunday –  continued – We entered the routine of sailing a long distance, passing time reading, on watch or napping.

20.04.09 – Monday – At 0130 Steve woke me up. There was a vessel with a strong light ahead closing on our starboard that he could not see on the radar. I found it on the 3 mile range screen. It looked as if it intended to pass on our staboard but a 1.5 miles from us, it turned to the right (our port) and with a strong search-light masking the rest of her navigation lights went east and away. When all this was happenning, the wind became strong enough to use sails only. That was nice! At 0300 I releived Steve, who went to his cabin only to discover”Slamming” for the first time. The boat was riding the small waves from ahead and from time to time they hit the bridgedeck or hull and made a noise he was not accustomed to. The day passed slowly and calmly. No fish were caught and almost no birds. Some white boobies with black trim on their wings showed up and somw terns buzzed the boat, landing in the water a few meters away,probably feasting on small fish that escaped us. The rest of the day passed with no special events.

21.04.09 – Tuesday – Noon position shows we did 120 miles towards destination in the preceeding 24 hours. Not much but OK considering the counter current and the fact that we mostly motor on one engine to conserve fuel. In the afternoon the sea becomes calmer, the wind lighter and if we keep the same speed our ETA Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz island will be around 2000 local time. Got to check if it is possible to enter at night. I called the local agent, Johnny Romero, to negociate for his services – doing the entry and exit procedures – for us. After asking for the boat’s particulars Johnny comes up with his proposed fee. “300$ OK?” “NO, I paid 100$ for the same service in the columbian islands in the Caribbean, why should it be diffrenet?” “I can only go down to 120$” says Johnny and we strike a deal. He will also arrange for a refrigeration technician to fix our fridge. Dinner is beef couscous. Watch system goes into action: each of us does three hours starting at 2100. During the day we arrange watches as required with no fixed schedule. The next day we rotate the order forward.The person who started goes to middle watch ETC. If you need help during your watch you call the one you replaced so as to let the next crew rest uninterrupted until he goes on duty.

22.04.09 – wednesday – As the hours progressed the wind disappeared, the sea became calmer. It is hot. The motion of the boat and the drone of the engine makes you drowsy. I suddenly realised that we were not far from the equator, where I thought a small ceremony was in order. I looked at the GPS and was surprised to see that We were only 1.5 miles from it. All hands on deck! Cameras out! As the distance closed a pod of dolphines greeted us with spectacular leaps. Guardians of the Equator? We stopped the boat on the line (frankly it jumped from 0000.001N to 0000.001S and I had to motor back…) took pictures, and jumped for a swim.

Equator

Equator

Equator swim

Equator swim

Zvi, who had crossed the line before, became Neptune for a while and using our large machette knighted the novices proclaiming us to have become “Captain” and “Knight of the southern ocean”.

Knight of the Southern Ocean

Knight of the Southern Ocean

Captain of the Southern Ocean

Captain of the Southern Ocean

This was fun and a very special feeling.
It became apparent that we were going to reach Puerto Ayora in Academy bay at night, not ideal in an unknown place. The alternative: wait out till morning – also not so appealing. We decided to enter in the dark. Using the electronic chart, GPS plotter and radar, we inched forward until we spotted the harbour and a large number of yachts at anchor. I found a place that I thought was good and dropped the anchor. Then a voice came on the VHF: yacht Kamiko called to tell us that the place I chose was susceptible to big swell and breaking waves… Thanks, Kamiko! We found a better, deeper anchorage and settled for the night.

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