Ok, so I had this post ready before we left for the Marquesas, but the internet was not working in the entirety of the Galapagos, so I will just post it as is, even though it is three weeks old. I will next write about the Pacific crossing and landing in Hiva OA, but it isn’t ready yet. Enjoy:

We are ready to depart for the Marquesas! We have provisioned and obtained our exit permission zarpa. So we shall leave tomorrow when we are ready for the 2850 nautical mile trip. We are hoping for an 18 day transit in Slick T. Rocketship, the fastest cruising boat in the anchorage.

Otherwise to catch up: We got our autographo a few days after the last post. In the mean time, our anchor got pinned in the rocks under Slick, and so we were not swinging like the other boats. Before we knew it, Victoria, a German boat, was on top of us. It was a sleepless night and Slick wanted to get close to her and accidentally bumped their windvane, damaging it. It was ok though as it was just a bent connecting rod. One of our anchor rodes also broke that night after chafing on the rocks. The German couple was really friendly though and after they repaired their windvane, the husband went down and unfouled the primary anchor and found the secondary one. That was very nice of them and I gave them a bottle of port as thanks, it was the same bottle of port we were given in Port Antonio for saving a dragging boat.

We had a nice sail to Academy Bay in Proto Ayora. The fish were jumping around Slick, but we are not allowed to try to catch them. These huge tuna, maybe 300 lbs, would jump 6-8 feet out of the water, it was very cool. In Academy Bay we got some supplies we had been needing, but not a new outboard. We hiked an extinct volcano only to get rained out at the top, so we didn’t get our rewarding view. But it was a nice time with the Evergreens anyway, a real quality family outing. We also went through a 1 km long lava tube, which was great and was also very cool underground, which was much better than the normal temperature outside. Nate and I wanted to go out at night but decided against it, and good thing, I think. When we returned we found a skiff tied to our boat with some confusion. Then moments later we saw a friends boat very hard on the rocks. The skiff was his and Jon had moved it there for the rescue operation. We watched, helpless, for 4 hours as Gudwin, an aluminum IOR 1 tonner, was pounded on rocks by the incoming swell. It was horrifying and I am sure this would have sunk Slick. After several hours and many pongas pulling, the tide rose up enough to free him. His keel was completely damaged and they were taking on water through their keel joint. I feel bad for them, but they feel they were able to effect repairs to continue to the Marquesas.

The next day we had a great time going on a short hike to “Las Grietas”, which translates to “the Cracks”. Basically they are surface faults from the formation of the island, but they are full of water and you can swim though them. It was truly awesome to see the frozen mechanisms of island formation, and it was a great place to swim. So good we went back the second day. The pools were maybe 200 feet long and 30 feet at the deepest part and maybe 20 feet wide. The walls of the fault extended another 50 feet about the water. This was, by far, the coolest lap pool I have ever swam in and one of the nicest formations we have seen to date.

The next day we left for Isabella. It was a nice sail with fish jumping all over. The entire time there was a huge storm with cloud to ground lightning just next to us, but it never left the island and we were ok. On the way we saw a huge manta ray swimming in the water and could see it off the bow for some time. We failed to capture a video though.

Upon arrival in Isabella we securely anchored and cleared in. The next day we hiked to a tortugaria and swam in a lagoon where there was really cool sea life. Every morning while here, I was awoken to sea lions blowing bubbles under Slick and splashing about. During morning coffee penguinos would chase fish around the boat. There are only a few boats here and this is the best anchorage in the Galapagos were allowed to visit. We hiked the second largest volcanic caldera in the world. It is quite impressive, even for Nate and I who have very high expectations. While on the hike there was a school trip from the Stamford High School Junior Geologist Society or something on horseback. They were really annoying but while having lunch under a huge tree, one of the chaperones suddenly yelled “Chiggers Donnie, Chiggers!” and then made the children eat their lunch standing up. He was worried about chiggers as he had some bites when in Central America, not realizing that they are not here. So not only did he make the children scared of nature, he also gave us something to laugh about. I wanted to tell him to be careful of the monkeys, they steal food… they don’t have any of those here either. On the way back the children ran their horses uncontrollably and nearly trampled us. But in the end it was a really good hike, and another quality family outing with the Evergreens.

A Few days later, we snorkeled “Los Tunelos” which is this lava formation where lava tubes have collapsed next to the sea and you can swim through the arches. To get into this place, you need a ponga with a ton of horsepower on the back and a skilled driver to time the breaking waves right in order to get over the reef. It was about a minute of excitement to get in. But the landscape was great, unfortunately the water was not so clear so we couldn’t see much. But it was extraordinary none the less.

Of all the places we have been outside the Bahamas, this is one of the few I would come back to. In fact, the entire Galapagos experience could have been had here. All the wildlife and landscape is here and it is amazing. I recommend it to anyone looking for a nice 1-2 week vacation. It has been a very good experience.

Of course, not all of it, but the only real odd experience was getting fuel on the black market. I think the man was drunk and it was a bit of a wreck, but in the end we got our diesel. We arranged to buy 36 gallons of diesel and a time. The man didn’t show up and it was made all the more difficult because another boat tried to arrange a delivery in front of the local port captain. When they finally came, long after we had gone to bed, they needed us to transfer the fuel right away. Unfortunately it was windy and rainy with swell coming into the anchorage. Great, we got diesel all over ourselves, but we got it done. The only other unpleasentry has been that it rains twice a day and so our washing never gets dry. On the subject of washing, we had our clothes done in Academy Bay and when Nate went to replace his sheets, there was a huge bleach spot in them. Doh!

Before I close this, I want to say that if I could meet my last rigger in New England, say, tomorrow, I would punch him square in the nuts. The anchor setup he sold me, under the guise I could anchor anywhere I would want to is not sufficient. Without more chain we are limited to about 30 feet of water if there are rocks. I am fed up with two of the halyards he sold me as they stretch too much for solo or 2-handed spinnaker operations and he f’d me on the runnning backs. Also, the windlass breaker that was supposed to be waterproof corroded though, so now I am stuck hauling up the anchor by hand until I can find a replacement. Good luck, Tim!

Ok, so tomorrow we leave, and we are pretty excited about it. I will try to capture the passage on video in a shorter format than last time. We are out of beer and almost out of liquor. That’s right, Slick is almost a dry boat. But we are excited to get back to sea and do some fishing and other things. The Galapagos has been a pretty good visit, at least it ended that way. For the next 21 days or so, Slick – out!