8 May Wednesday 02 20 N / 082 45 W
Underway towards Galapagos It’s been a long, slow day of rain, rain, rain and the winds have come from every direction. Thankfully, there hasn’t been too much wind so the seas are relatively calm. We continue to work our way south hoping to find the SE trade winds. It’s a frustrating business since we’re not really certain what weather system we’ll find. One thing is for sure, our best bet is to push south and get out of the doldrums as soon a possible.
Another boat in our little flotilla announced on the evening SSB radio net that they have given up on making the Galapagos and are heading to the town of Manta in Ecuador. They have a smaller boat with little freeboard and were spending more time plowing through the waves rather than riding over them. They also have a more limited fuel range and couldn’t afford to continue motoring looking for favorable winds. They’ll fuel up, rest and be underway again in a few days.
We were entertained by another large pod of dolphins this afternoon. These are different than the ones we’re familiar with in the Caribbean. They had much darker bodies with red or pink bellies. Like their Caribbean cousins, the smaller ones delighted in jumping to impress us.
It’s early evening and the clouds have completely obscured the stars so it will be a long night. After a few days the magic of phosphorescence glittering on the wave tops, sparkling in our wake and swirling down the to head when it’s flushed becomes routine. Perhaps a flying fish will smack into the cockpit and spook me like one did last night!
Time to go stare into the darkness for a couple of hours before waking Karen.
Our radio connections from Panama were really bad and transmissions were slow even for text messages. We did shoot a bunch of pictures of the canal transit but haven’t done anything about narrowing down the selection or editing. All we’ve been doing is napping, reading and standing our two-hour watches. The transit did go well since we hooked up with a Kiwi and Oz boat, scheduled ourselves to go through as a raft and repeatedly refused scheduling changes. It didn’t hurt that the guy at the scheduling office was originally from New Zealand. The lady who served as our contact for the three boats constantly schmoozed him on the telephone. The canal constantly reschedule yachts at the last-minute to fit us around large boats. We suspect several of the boats who were shuffled during the last few days before our transit were bumped so we could stick to our scheduled data. Of course, we dummied-up about it all around the Panama Yacht Club.
I worked on a realistic view of the city of Colon. But honestly, it was so depressing and negative I didn’t want to post it. The place burned down at one point during the build of the canal. Historical reports say it made a big improvement in the health and lifestyle of the area. From our point of view it’s time for another razing. One doesn’t dare leave the fenced compound of the yacht club without being in a cab. We knew of several muggings during the time we were there. Happily our regular cab drivers had grown up in the city and took good care of us. After we got to know one of them well enough to invite him and his wife to join us for dinner, we asked if he was safe walking around the main parts of the city at night. “Absolutely not!”, was his firm reply. He said the security guards posted at the entrance of every shop make it relatively safe for locals during the day. When the stores close and the guards go home he heads for the safety of his neighborhood.
We’ll be in Galapagos for a week or so.
11 May (Saturday) 00 00 N / 087 25 W
We crossed the equator today at 1815 GMT (1315 local). Rebecca, our five year old representative of Neptune, was mistress of ceremonies. She wore her official robe, shell necklaces, crown and carried her trident. As we crossed the equator she supervised the popping of a cork on a bottle of champagne. Three glasses were poured – one for each parent and one for Rebecca to pour into the sea as and offering to King Neptune. After pouring his drink, she offered him several pieces of bread (a bit stale perhaps) for a meal. The stale bread may have put him off a bit since S/V Enchante’ rocked and spilled the two remaining glasses of champagne! We refilled our glasses, toasted the South Pacific and finished the rest of the bottle. Little Neptune joined the toasts with a glass of her favorite beverage – apple juice.
Rebecca’s command for calm seas was almost immediately granted and a few minutes after entering the South Pacific we’re motoring in order to make it to the Galapagos before sunset Sunday. Be careful what you wish for!
We anchored in the Galapagos this afternoon, right behind friends on S/V Aureo with the lady suffering from nausea after diving. We’d been in SSB contact but I didn’t want to discuss her problem over a radio net. They led us through the check in procedure, showed us the laundry and shared lunch with us (Goodness the bottles of beer are large here. And I was trying to keep up with a Kiwi!)
They are departing tomorrow for the Marquesas so we invited them over for sun downers and a chat. She read your reply and we discussed it. As a PADI kind of gal, she hadn’t really thought much about breathing patterns. We discussed the “meditation, yoga” pattern and the fact that her “low air consumption” might be a sign of poor breathing practices. It sunk in that, since she always had air remaining after diving with a group, she might as well burn it during the dive.
She also said her regulator is fairly old and hasn’t been serviced in ages. She wasn’t particularly conscious of misting or saltwater inhalation. Then again, cruisers taste salt all day long and wouldn’t think it out of the ordinary.
All of her air has come from proper dive shops and she didn’t bring a cylinder on their “around the world in 14 months” cruise. A “once around quickly” might be something for others to consider. Much less of a complete lifestyle change than selling everything, shutting down the shop and cruising for fifteen to twenty years.
A report on the Galapagos will follow – we’re just getting adjusted to the sounds and smells of land and long, uninterrupted periods of sleep.
A Quick Recipe from the galley of S/V Enchante’
Here’s something to impress your party guests – should you actually be willing to share it!
- 1/3 + 1/3 C olive oil
- 1 large eggplant, cut into 1/2″ cubes
- 2 onions, diced
- 1 C celery, diced
- 1 lb canned tomatoes
- 1/3 C wine vinegar
- 1 T sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1/4 tsp cayenne
- 1 can green olives, chopped
- 2 T capers
- 1 T caper juice
- 1 lemon/lime juice
Sauté eggplant in 1/3 C olive oil for 5 minutes. Remove from pan. Sauté onions in 1/3 C olive oil until Transparent. Add celery and canned tomatoes. Cook for 15 minutes until sauce is reduced. Add eggplant, vinegar, sugar, salt, pepper and cayenne. Cook covered for 5 minutes. Add green olives, capers and caper juice. Cook uncovered for 10 minutes. Add lemon/lime juice. Allow to cool. Refrigerate for at least 24 hours before serving.
[Note from Eric: in 1997, one of our instructors, Carl Strange and his wife set off to sail the world. Everyone wanted to know what was happening with Carl, Karen and later with the addition of their new crew member, Rebecca. So, we started to publish “The Strange Chronicles” so everyone could travel with them. I was looking through some old files and found the Chronicles. I started rereading them and decided it would be fun to republish some excerpts from them. They are an insight to the cruising lifestyle.]