Month: April 2017
So here we are, in the middle of nowhere, and Mycah has come across a question in her chemistry class that we are perplexed by.
Q: If you increase the temperature of a volume of air by four times while at the same time doubling the pressure, would the volume of air increase or decrease? Why? Text us at +881623458586 on our satellite system.
It’s a beautiful new day on the South Pacific. Seas are calm for the first time on this journey. Swells reached 4 meters yesterday. We are all having so much fun and loving our time of open ocean. Not once in these 6 days have we seen another vessel…just wide open pacific blue. It’s perfect and peaceful. Lots of our love to you all.
Danny caught a large marlin today. We are still debating whether it’s a black or blue marlin. Its dorsal fin is a gorgeous peacock blue. Danny filleted it and cut it up into 10 huge slabs – each packaged and frozen now. We had some for dinner with French bread right out of the oven and fresh papaya and it was so delicious!
It’s a beautiful new day on the high seas. We gently roll over huge swells making 8-9 knots. A flying fish flew through our open hatch last night and flopped around angrily till it was set free back in the water. We are loving every moment.
We sailed over to the trades winds and have been on a port tack between 9 and 10 knots. A beautiful sail. Been through a couple squalls and are in 8-10 ft rolling seas. Crew and vessel are doing beautifully! All is well 🙂
We have been preparing vessel and crew for our three week crossing to Marquesas, and the time has come to pull up anchor and sail off into the South Pacific.
Some of our preparation has included scrubbing Tanda Malaika’s belly, so her hulls are squeaky clean and free of anything that would slow us down.
We went to the post office and mailed off the creatures exams to American School of Correspondence so they can be graded.
We have visited with friends and said our goodbyes, and I made a big batch of South African fudge to share with them.
I started the sprouts so that a week from now when greens are eaten, we will still have something green to enjoy…
We went to immigration and got our passports stamped and checked out, made sure engines and generator are in good order and fishing gear is good to go.
Finally, we stocked up on fruits and veggies at the the mercado.
I love markets!!! Check out the cute baby under the table!
You think we bought enough eggs??? Now we will wash them, rub them in oil and store them.
We also bought squash and other things that will not spoil for a while so we will still have fresh veggies in the third week.
We returned to Tanda Malaika loaded down and ready to go.
Thank you to my buddy, Captain Elayne, who is my wonderful friend and experienced sailing instructor and captain in Hawaii, who keep close tabs on us in case of emergency. We love you Elayne.
I will be posting text and maybe one photo a day to the blog through satellite as we sail, so watch for updates on our adventure.
We love you all madly and are excited for this adventure!!! Next Stop, Hiva Oa, Marquesas!!!
Getting ready for our 3 week voyage and just checking to see if I can post text to the blog through satellite.
We spent a couple more days in Isabela waiting for our paperwork so we could return to Santa Cruz, and during that time cruised the reefs with turtles and completed several boat projects.
The Galapagos green turtle are the only turtles that nest on the Galapagos islands, and they always return to the same nesting beach each time they reproduce. Hatchlings emerge from their nests at night and immediately move out to sea to avoid predators. Turtles forage for marine algae, eelgrass and animal matter.
On Tuesday morning we pulled up anchor and motored the 42 nm back to Santa Cruz. Beautiful big rolling swells and completely calm winds made for an uneventful and gentle passage. When we arrived at our destination, about 8 or 10 juvenile sharks came to greet us. Their 2-3ft little bodies are so sleek and when jumping in to swim with them, they are very curious.
On Wednesday morning we all woke up excited, knowing that Kjira would be joining us that day. Jude and Mycah’s mission was to figure out how to get to her at the airport in Isla Baltra, and bring her back. I’m so proud of how smart and independent our creatures are. They caught a taxi to a ferry which took them across to Isla Baltra and then caught another taxi to the tiny airport there and scooped up our their beautiful older sister.
In the mean time the rest of us did some provisioning in town, but not before being greeted by the Galapagos welcome committee spokesman, who was asleep on the job.
When we saw the taxi arrive the twins ran and embraced Kjira. What a wonderful reunion! I was too busy videoing to take still shots, but afterward we did what we do best, and took her out for ice cream.
She’s looking a little white from working at Big Sky Ski Resort, but it won’t take long for her to look like Tanda Malaika crew.
Looking at the weather, we are predicting that we will leave for Marquesas on Friday or Saturday of this week. While Danny is doing final oil changes and making sure all systems are in check, I am beginning the final provisioning process. The crossing will take about 3 weeks with nothing but wide open ocean in between, so I need to make sure we have sufficient food for 7. Yesterday Emma helped haul a nice big bunch of bananas back to the boat.
Today we will hit the grocery store on last time and the mercado as well. We are so excited to set sail and move into French Polynesia.
With very little to no wind, we used the spinnaker for part of our journey and motored the remainder of the way to Isabela.
We passed several small islands, many looking like partial volcanos.
Once we’d anchored, a boat load of customs and immigration officials boarded and began the usual paperwork and inspections. They again made sure we had fire extinguishers, flares, first aid kits and correct paperwork, and once completed wanted to know if Jude and Mycah had boyfriends. The girls immediately told them they did. One of the agents wanted a photo with the creatures then broke out his phone and played music trying to impress.
Isabela is the largest of all the islands of Galapagos. One would think that with it being the largest island it would have the largest developments, but that is not the case. Isabela is one of the youngest of the islands and was named after Queen Isabela of Spain. It was formed by 6 volcanos, 5 of which are still active. Long fingers of lava rock stretch out into the ocean, which reminds me so much of Hawaii.
We love the diversity of wildlife and landscape here. Beautiful areas of white sand beaches
slowly transform into cactus and brush,
which continues on into marine iguana covered lava rock meeting ocean.
Danny, the creatures and I went into the town of Puerto Villamil on an adventure together.
All the streets are sand, and most of the few stores that there are, are closed.
We wandered around until we came to a place that rented bicycles, and after Danny negotiated a good price for six of them, we set out on what would end up being a beautiful, exhausting, grand adventure…
We peddled down the streets of sand, and out into an open area that ran parallel to the beach.
The scenery was so gorgeous, and the temperature was around 90 degrees.
Each of us carried our usual backpacks with a towel and water bottle, and of course I always have my camera equipment. We passed a cemetery with a view of the South Pacific – not a bad final resting place.
Periodically we had to stop along the trail because a sleepy tortoise with a mouth full of food was crossing the path.
We all loved seeing these gentle giants who seem to not have a care in the world.
The stood still watching us as we stood watching them – simple scenes that will forever be etched into our minds. I love the texture of their legs and feet.
We cycled up hills and slightly down hills, through small areas of shade, and very large areas of intense sun,
and after several miles came to what is know as ‘The wall of tears.’
This wall, El Muro de las Lagriimas, was built between 1945 and 1959 by prisoners on the island. It is about 65ft tall and 300ft long, and caused thousands of deaths during it’s pointless construction which separates nothing from nothing at all.
Prisoners were allowed no water or rest and very little nourishment and had to cut, haul and build the wall from a lava rock quarry which was a long walk away. It’s construction was simply a form of punishment meant to cause absolute misery, and many have said they can hear cries from the dead when in the area.
After leaving wall of tears we cycled to a lava tube,
which had beautiful clear water in it. Tiny stalactites hung from the ceiling which had orange, white and brown colors of rock flowing through it.
Close by, a rocky area seemed to a local hangout for marine iguana.
They blend in so well with the rock that at times I’ll sit to takes photos and accidentally almost sit on one.
They look majestic yet comical at the same time, with their constant little smirk on their faces.
Once back on our bikes, we cycled along until we reached the outskirts of town once again.
This time we walked a path to some lagoons where flamingo frequent.
The water was an interesting color from algae, but neither the iguana nor the flamingoes seemed to mind it.
Flamingoes are the beautiful salmon color due to their diet of shrimp. Were it not for shrimp, they would be grey in color.
By the time we returned the bikes to the rental place, we had worked up an appetite and were thoroughly exhausted. (Even though Aidan still had energy to skateboard)
We relaxed for lunch then made our way back to the dinghy to return to Tanda Malaika. A cast of bright orange crabs stood out on their little lava islands, surrounded by the beautiful blue water. (Did you know a group of crabs is called a cast?!)
As we dinghy back, Mycah spotted what she has been hoping to see this entire time…..PENGUINS!!!!
Such cute little guys standing so proudly in their tuxedos looking out over the water.
It has been so amazing to witness such incredible beauty here in these islands. Such a wide variety of animals in their natural habitat – roaming free just as they should be.
In Spanish, Playa means beach, and Tortuga means turtle. We’d heard about Playa Tortuga and were intrigued – interested to see how many turtles we’d end up spotting on our adventure. With water bottles in our back packs and cameras in hand, we set out across town to the trailhead we’d heard about.
Along the way to the trailhead, we saw some beautiful flowers. So many of them bring back a flood of memories from my childhood, since I remember them all in Africa.
Beautiful rock outcroppings from volcanoes past, supported cacti and trees. It all painted a peaceful landscape.
We reached the ‘trailhead’ after about a mile, which was not a trailhead at all, but rather a beautiful paved path stretching 1.5 miles to a glorious beach.
Along the path so many cute little lizards ran this way and that.
Some of them poked their heads out from behind rocks.
Black finches sang beautiful songs from lichen covered branches as I breathed in the beauty that surrounded me.
I always seem to be the last to arrive, because I stop and take so many photos. The path emptied onto the beach, and all the creatures were sitting relaxing and cooling off.
I stood in awe as I looked out across the big beautiful white sand and turquoise water. What a simple yet complex and exquisite scene!
Off to the left, cactus and rocks overlooked the ocean,
and far off to the right I could see more foliage…and everything in between was a cool blissful ocean and breathtakingly beautiful beach.
I walked ankle deep in the water watching the ebb and flow, noticing patterns in the sand that speak peace to me.
It’s moments like these that make all the difference in the world. When I am in physical or emotional pain, this is my happy place that washes it all away.
I reached place where marine iguanas lay basking in the sun.
Their black bodies thick and firm.
Some lay asleep,
while others watched in boredom as the day wore on.
Walking a little farther down past the mangroves, a calm waveless bay was filled with several groups cooling themselves. Our creatures were some of those people.
The boys were playing with the body board while the girls relaxed, submersed in the coolness.
The area seemed to be a shark nursery, because we saw so many baby black tipped reef sharks, about 1-2ft in length.
We played and relaxed for a long, long time, then began making our way back past the basking iguanas,
past the bright waves against the turquoise ocean where the creatures stopped to swim once again,
and where pelicans dive like bombers in a war.
We returned to the path where lizards hurry about and beautiful birds sing their song.
Our water bottles almost empty, we walked slowly in the hot sun, stopping in the shade of cactus periodically to rest.
And finally returned home, sandy, exhausted and filled with peace from the beauty we had witnessed. It’s a good day when you have been surrounded by natural beauty and shared it with those you love.