Location: Isabela, Galapagos
Date: March 29, 2015
Spent the last couple of days mostly prepping for the push to the Marquesas. It’s a long way, some 3000 miles, but should be fairly comfortable at this time of year. We just need to provision up!
I put in a new thermostat on the port engine. Its fuel consumption is a little higher than the starboard. Wendy is always running in Belinda’s shadow. I know it runs a lot cooler than it should, so it sounded like a thermostat problem. We’ll see how it performs. In our 85 hours of motoring since our last tank top up, the port tank used 20 gallons of diesel and the starboard only 13. Maybe we were just going in circles.
I also got the gas generator up and running. It’s been a saga, starting with tearing it apart in the Bahamas, bringing it to a mechanic in Cartagena, and then several hours wiring and rewiring the output through a German battery charger. Finally got all the systems to cooperate and we can charge at ~13 amps. There’s only been a few times where we really needed it to charge batteries instead of running the diesels. We may need it more on this passage as the following winds won’t run the wind generator as efficiently. Felix also opened up the towing generator and cleaned up the guts. I rewired its inputs and maybe we’ll get some juice out of him as well.
We were invited by friends to join a loose group of boats that were heading out about the same time we are interested in leaving. We got together on Wavelength, our friends Mark and Eileen’s boat to discuss plans with the other captains and crew. So we will be one boat out of five leaving within a few days of each other. We have a radio net set up, so we’ll be in contact with each other every day via SSB radio. We’ll also be emailing our position updates to the blog as we go via the radio as well. It’s too slow for pictures, so you’ll have to use your imagination.
Our flotilla consists of:
Tayrona – Midwest – Pete, Miranda, Liza, Felix
Wavelength – Vancouver – Mark and Eileen
Talula Ruby – England – Paul, Andi, Pedro, Scott, Carl
Centime – Maine – Dennis and Heidi
Endorphine – Scotland – Colin, Izi, and Terry
We’re the only cat in the bunch, but the sailors on the other boats have oceans of experience and really nice boats, so I’m sure we’ll be the ones trying to keep up! So we’re pretty excited about that. It’s nice to have safety in numbers. We will also try to be in contact via radio with the Pacific Puddle Jump, an organization that keeps track of the boats crossing the Pacific every year.
Our friends Dirk and Gretchen pulled in a few days ago from their Panama to Galapagos crossing. They’re legit sailors on a gorgeous wooden ketch, no refrigeration, rowing dinghy. They’re the real deal. They waited in Las Perlas off Panama for a week for good wind and made it across in six days, albeit they did have a day’s head start leaving from the islands and not Panama City. We got together on our boat for dinner and drinks and related stories of our crossings and the goings on of the Galapagos. They’ll be following us to the Marquesas, just not for a few weeks.
We took on 50 gallons of diesel and 5 of gasoline in our jerry jugs. It’s not straight forward on the Galapagos. Diesel at the gas station is subsidized and costs about $2/gallon, which is illegal for non-Ecuadoreans to purchase. Thus, you have to send if paperwork with an agent (ours is J.C. Desoto), wait four days, and then get your fuel, at $4/gallon. Not the end of the world, but definitely a rigamarole.
Fresh produce is flown in on Saturdays at noon to the Galapagos. It only hits the market on Isabela at 5:00. So in we went to pick out our haul of fruit and veggies for the push. We didn’t find pineapples in the prolific abundance that we did in the Panama City market. We still made out alright though.
In all the preparatory steps to get out of here and back onto the high seas we did sneak in some time to do some more snorkeling. Had a pass by a white tipped reef shark, played with a sea lion, swooping and spinning underwater. I couldn’t keep up with him, but it was sure fun to play. Then we chased a penguin down with the dinghy on the way home!
Now just a few odds and ends to wrap up before we head out! Sounds like tomorrow (Monday) we’ll be shoving off in the morning. We will likely be in the Marquesas anywhere from April 17th to April 30th! We’ll keep you posted!