Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Later, boobies

We're leaving Galapagos tomorrow morning for the Marquesas. The passage should take somewhere around 3 weeks, it's about 3,000 miles. Martin achieved a truce with this FLB after some solid teeth gnashing and barking, he finally accepted the fact that sharing is sometimes necessary.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Gross little dude

This is a marine iguana. They are about 2 feet long, swim down the sea floor to eat and are super gross.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Darwin overload

We've had a fun week poking around Isla Isabela. We rented bikes and rode up to a tortoise sanctuary above the desert. The tortoise population was nearly extinct after the whalers had their way with the islands in the 19th century. So they're raising juvenile tortoises to be released into the wild. The tortoises are living in paradise with full access to mango, banana and papaya trees/fruit. The sanctuary is actually cutting down some of the trees because the tortoises are becoming morbidly obese. All they need are some native grasses. Ridiculous.

We went SCUBA diving again and had more awesome manta ray sightings, hammerhead sharks, and the best turtle viewing ever. We were swimming in between two currents, a place where warm and cold water meet, so lots of critters showed up. We had a dozen green sea turtles meandering around us in circles and thousands of reef fish swimming in huge schools just cruising right on by our masks.

The sea lions and Galapagos penguins have been frequent visitors to Pau Hana. They love to pig out on the tiny fish that hide in the shadow of the boat. It's been some my favorite wildlife moments of the trip. One little sea lion likes to climb onto the paddle board, but as soon as she sees us, she evacs, so no pictures of that, yet.

Many boats are getting ready to leave this week and start their crossing to Marquesas. We're not in any hurry but our permit expires on Friday, so we'll continue getting ready to go this week and hope that the trade winds come a bit more north toward us, otherwise we may be looking at about 400 miles of motoring as we start our trip. Cheers!
High tides and surf have dominated our stay. Isla Isabela has had the highest tides here since 1997 during our stay.

"Yer a desert flower y'are..."

Rented bikes again and rode out to a monument called the Wall of Tears, a stone wall built by Ecuadorian prisoners in the 1940s, for absolutely no reason. Grim.
As always, go fast, take chances applied. Never mind the 15" frame or the lack of a rear brake.

This cute FLB played by the boat all morning (furry lil' bastard)

out for a rip (nod to EAB)

FLB recruited a buddy to join the antics

Martin tells the FLB how much fun telemark skiing is.

Galapagos penguins are the most northerly existing penguin in the world and one of the smallest.  They roost around the boat with amazing agility and speed, eating fish and getting chased by FLBs.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Isla Isabela

We've been here about a week. Puerto Villamil is a delightful and relaxing spot to hang out. We did some diving and saw huge manta rays soaring right above us, had an up close encounter with a hammerhead shark, and Mart had a head on encounter that came about 6 inches from a big green sea turtle. They both tried to hold their line, but finally, the turtle deflected. The sea lions are cute when they're babies but turn into agro bullies when they get big enough. I got chased off a park bench by a bossy sea lion who just wanted to relax in style. We're starting to get the boat provisioned with fuel, propane and water for our crossing to the Marquesas. We've got 1 1/2 weeks left here before we head west, hope to do some more dives and tour the interior a bit.
little sea lion doing laps around pau hana

Mart sporting his semi-dry suit to go diving. The water is cold here due to the convergence of several large ocean currents.  These cool currents provide the food for all the epic wildlife in the water.


save the tortoises
this guy is at least 100 years old, weighs about 250# and is still going strong

rented a crap bike (definitely not the blur trc) and had an awesome cruise down the beach

yep, blue footed boobies

lots of 'em

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Good bye Polaris, Hello Southern Cross

We arrived at Isla Isabela after a fast 6 day passage from Panama filled with great wind, wildlife, awesome sailing and, I'm sad to report, no fishing success (although the chocolate cake made up for it). Highlights included a sail-by of a family of 15 -20 sea lions lounging on the sea surface 200+ miles from land, several visitations from bottlenose dolphins to the bow wave of the boat, a green sea turtle greeting us upon entry to the Galapagos, and a Galapagos shark sighting around the fishing lure streamed off the stern of the boat (shortly before Martin had to get in the water and scrub off the bottom of the boat for inspection in the Galapagos- I kept a solid shark watch!)

We're now anchored with about 8 other boats in a lagoon that is a natural sea lion nursery. So we've had these juvenile sea lions playing, jumping and flapping all around Pau Hana, especially in the morning. They approach the boat, look up to make sure you're watching and then start doing some show-off acrobatics, it's just ridiculously cute. We've also had some Galapagos penguins swim by, and a few resident turtles have sauntered over to check us out.

We had to undergo quite a bureaucratic circus to be able to stay here. We had inspectors from the health department (to ensure we weren't transporting Ebola into the Galapagos!), quarantine officials, Coast Guard inspectors and Marine Park Service personnel all on the boat a couple days ago. They wanted to see our food, our bilge, holding tanks and the engine. Apparently we passed, and are now allowed to stay here for 20 days. We are not free to move the boat to a different anchorage so we'll have to explore from here on land or take a shuttle boat to the other islands. We feel lucky as a French boat next to us did not pass inspection (poor holding tanks) and they got kicked out after only 24 hours of rest.... Hopefully they have enough provisions to make it the 3000 miles to the Marquesas.
Panama canal... before 


we had some light wind and got to fly the spinnaker

a glass of bubbly at the equator crossing

Pacific sunsets rule

pulling into the Galapagos
dolphins love to play in the bow wave


Thursday, March 12, 2015

Arrival in Galapagos

We are anchored safely at Villamil on the south end of Isla Isabela in the Galapagos.
S 00*57.903'
W 090*57.756'
Juvenile sea lions are jumping and playing around the boat.
We sailed 933 miles in 6 days, 2 hours, averaging about 150 miles per day.
The Galapagos are truly a wildlife park and we haven't been ashore yet.
The dolphins were at our bow for an extended period this morning.
I lost another lure to some monster fish. I chose 80lb test because I don't really want to catch a giant fish, but loosing my lures will drive me to make more homemade ones.
We hope to stay here for three weeks before we depart for Marquesas, French Polynesia.


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Arrived Galapagos

Current Position:
S 00*54'
W 090*30'

With no wind we motored through the night to arrive in the Galapagos at about 0400.
We're now heading to Isla Isabella where we will anchor throughout our stay here.
Yesterday afternoon we saw a pod of 30 or more dolphins leaping in formation as they passed by Pau Hana.
It's hot here, but the water is cool thanks to the Humbolt current coming up the coast of South America.
We should be anchored by about 1400. then nap time.

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Wednesday, March 11, 2015


Pau Hana has crossed the equator!
Current Position:
S 00*01'
W 088*19'
Last night the wind dropped to 5 kts so we've been motoring.
So far today there is enough wind to hold the sails so we're motor sailing at 6 knots
After more than 600 miles of sailing we came upon a boat load of Swedes that we had met weeks prior having a swim at the equator.
Small world.
We hope to arrive at Puerto Villamil, Isla Isabela tomorrow mid-day.
We had planned on eight days for this passage but it seems that we will finish in six.
Still no fish.

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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

still sailing...

Happy Birthday Lexi!
I'm still trying to catch her birthday dinner.
I hooked a fish yesterday but it broke my 80lb line immediately.
The wind has let up so were now traveling at about 5 kts.
We have had good success with the HF radio and have been able to communicate with other sailboats in transit and throughout Central America.
Position as of 1000 CDT (1500)
N 01*06'
W 086*14'
heading 205*
speed 5 kts
wind 8-10 kts. SSE
1-2' waves
partly cloudy skies and clearing.

All is well. The forecast looks as though we may have to motor the last 250 miles.

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Monday, March 9, 2015

best day ever!

Our first day of this passage we covered 160 miles.
The second day we traveled 180 miles!
Last night the wind went flat so we motored for about 10 hours.
When the wind returned, it was from the SSE @12 kts, so perfect conditions for sailing direct to the southern end of the Galapagos.
Position as of 0830 central daylight time, 1430 UTC
N 02*11'
W 084*11'
Speed 7.5 kts
Heading 230* magnetic
We're over halfway in less than three days!
I've got a new fishing lure off the back, but we may be going too fast.
Tomorrow I'll bake a cake for Lexi's birthday. Hopefully there will be fresh fish dinner as well.
Our oven is gimballed so it sits level even when the boat is heeled way over.
I had to put on a hoodie last night because the temperature dropped to 78* F
Otherwise all is well.

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Sunday, March 8, 2015

Fair Winds and Following Seas

Good Morning!
160 nm in the last 24 period!
Average speed so far on this passage 7.1 kts
This is our fastest passage yet(so far)
We are sailing down wind with fairly large waves pushing us along as well.
There are significant storms to the north of us that are creating these waves.
Current Position 0815 EDT, 1315 UTC:
04*02' N
081*59' W
Heading 220*
The fishing line is back in the water.
All is well. We just passed the tiny island of Mapelo, Columbia.


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Saturday, March 7, 2015

Leaving Panama

So we're clear of Panama after a month long visit.
Current position:
06*17' N
080*10' W
!5-20 kts of wind from the N-NE
boat speed 6.5 kts.
Next stop Galapagos!
Yesterday we saw humpback whales and had a pod of dolphins on our bow for a while.
Super fun.
There are many boats headed to the Galapagos right now so we are seeing other boats periodically.
Shipping traffic is less now that we're further from the canal zone.
We're heading south to avoid the Inter Tropical Convergence Zone, a region of normally light to no wind.
So far we're sailing fast and getting ready to set out the fishing gear.

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Monday, March 2, 2015

Toucans & crocodiles

Great day creature watching with toucans, parrots, hummingbirds and big crocodiles!

We had a great visit with Martin's mom around Panama City. We went sailing in the Gulf of Panama for a day and got to watch a humpback whale surface 40 feet from Pau Hana. We ate lots of delicious Panamanian seafood and toured the old part of the city which dates back to the 1500s. Molly returns to Minneapolis today. Martin is installing some of the equipment that she brought down for us and then we are heading out, probably to Las Perlas Islands for a few days. Depending on how antsy we are, we'll get going to the Galapagos in the next week or so....
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