Passage to Galapagos

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DAY 1:

We raised the anchor and left the shallow Bahia de Caraquez anchorage at 14h30, because that’s when the tide was high. The anchor chair was thick with growth making it look like Chewbacca had shed his winter coat all over it.

Danny blew the fog horn to say goodbye and several people waved from their boats. The sky was thick with soft clouds as if someone had stuffed it with cotton balls.

As we made our way out to deeper water we constantly dodged large logs and full tree trucks which had drifted down river from the mountains.

Ecuador has beautiful mountains of endless lush green fields, jungles and cloud forests. We will miss this place.

I had prepared a huge pasta salad earlier in the day, and since no one was particularly hungry at dinner time, we each just enjoyed a bowl of it and called it good. Danny hasn’t been feeling well the past couple of days. The side effects of the yellow fever shot caused him to be feverish and achy, and the cortisone shot seems to be wearing off in his knee. I don’t like it when he’s not feeling well because I want to take him in my arms and cuddle him on my lap like I have done with my babies, but he’s just too big…so instead I kiss his forehead, give him cold things and check on him as much as possible.

I had lay down to rest up for my 4am watch, and was sound asleep when I heard a change in Tanda Malaika’s sound. It’s like when you have a newborn child and you can recognize their cry in a room full of children. We know Tanda Malaika’s sounds, and as soon as her happy sounds changed it brought me out of a deep sleep. I came topside to chat wth Danny who was on watch, and found that all the creatures had woken as well. What I had heard was us getting caught in a fishing net, and Keith was on the radio from Zatara saying they were dragging a net as well. The part that I had missed while asleep, was that Danny had been approached by a fishing boat with several fishermen yelling at him in Spanish, Emma had grabbed the water bottles incase they were pirates, and Mycah translated that they needed us to turn to port because they had fishing nets out. I got my swimsuit on and strapped my dive knife to my thigh, ready to dive down and cut nets off our props as we pulled up alongside Zatara, but Keith had just got done freeing his prop and swam over and checked ours. He removed some nylon twine, which brought the party to an end, and we continued on, shining flood lights off the bow and watching for nets. The stars were so intense and bioluminescence spread like a pulsating Milky Way to the rhythm of the boats movement.

We caught no fish even though we had a line out all day. Maybe the Pacific critters don’t like squid lures…
In the boat right where the stern salon meets the main salon, there has been an awful fishy smell today but we can’t figure out what it is. The fridges are clean, there’s nothing obnoxious in the garbage and all produce is fresh, and it’s driving everyone crazy. Finally Emma suggested that maybe it’s the anchor chain, and after walking in its direction we realized that it was indeed the problem. All the growth from the anchorage smelled like fish that had been left in the sun for three days. We were going to have to scrub it.

DAY2:

We motor sailed for part of the day, sailed for part of it and then motored once again. Interestingly, we passed over about a 5 mile stretch that was under 50ft deep, clear out in the middle of the Pacific. After that it dropped down to over 6000-9000ft once again.

The sun seems to be becoming more intense and finally clouds gave way to reveal a large beautiful blue sky. After setting two fishing lines I drug out Danny’s and my laundry and scrubbed it clean at the stern then hung it out to dry.

Danny announced to us that Galapagos authorities don’t allow anyone to arrive with fresh fruits and veggies on their boats, so my mind began envisioning a large pot of stew with tons of vegetables for dinner. I knew everyone would love it since we are all big fruit and vegetable eaters.

The creatures once again worked on schoolwork and chores and in the afternoon we pulled Zatara and Tanda Malaika up fairly close and we had a swimming party.

Danny dropped the anchor chain and I took a thick brush to it, and every time I had a few feet cleaned, Danny raised that section up back into the anchor locker. The only problem with this is that as I scrubbed the gunk off, tiny stinging cells were released from it and my entire body was once again becoming covered in welts. Mycah and Jude swam over with brushes and began removing growth from the bridle and the hull, and were experiencing the same. Before long all the creatures including Renee and her munchkins were over and we all scrubbed Tanda Malaika’s belly.

Looking down into the deep abyss was beautiful, a rich, endless blue. When arriving in Galapagos, the boats hull will be inspected, and if you have growth of any kind, they will send you away, so showing up with a clean bottom is very important. We decided we’d clean Zatara tomorrow. Even though some of us got stung, the water was so refreshing. We didn’t see one single fish or shark, just a few jelly fish floating by.

When it was time to get going again, all the Zatara crew except Kate and Keith stayed onboard with us and Mycah made some beautiful Henna designs on Renee.

While they were busy with that I threw all the ingredients for stew into a large pot and kneed together some dough for dinner rolls. We sat around chatting and enjoying our time together, and just before sunset, Keith came closer and Jude shuttled Zatara crew and some fresh, hot rolls over to their boat.

It’s been another beautiful day on the water, the winds have died down completely, and we have started the port engine and will be motoring until more wind arrives. Still no fish today!
The sunset was so beautiful.

DAY 3:

We motored all through the night and this morning the ocean is calmer than many lakes I’ve been on. We are in the ITCZ zone and it is know for being unpredictable. It can be either windless and calm or crazy angry seas. I watched the sun rise during my 4am to 8am watch after changing lures and setting out two fishing lines, my surroundings was so beautiful. At one point the sky was mostly dark with a light blue hole in it from which sunlight poured in.

It continued to spill over until all was light, revealing a gorgeous new day. Jude and Mycah came to take my place and I went down to check if by some slight chance Danny was awake, and ended up falling asleep for an hour beside him.
When I came upstairs an hour later, Jude had made Gorilla Poop (peanut butter and chocolate no bake cookies) and was busy hanging her laundry that she’d just washed. I commented on what a domestic Goddess she was and she laughed at me.

We once again joined up with Zatara and the creatures all swam over to scrub their boat. A good paint job makes all the difference in the world when it comes to growth on the bottom. The paint that was applied to our boat was obviously not very good quality even though we were told it was, because we had far more growth than Zatara did, and as we scape barnacles off, the paint goes with it.
Keith has a board he pulls behind his boat that someone can hold on to, and if tilted at the correct angle, you can dive down and be pulled along under water. Danny tried it out and had a blast and a half. We’ll be getting a couple of those for Tanda Malaika.

It was once again a fish free day, even thought I tried out 6 different lure. I’m beginning to think that the problem in Japan has killed all the fish!
Danny worked on the engine a big, cleaning the racor and fuel pump.

The sunset was gorgeous and the creatures sat and ate dinner out on the bow in the orange light.

Jude mentioned that sunrises and sunsets are so wonderful at sea. They are a big event and mean so much more – plus they add an entirely new palette of color to the the day time blues and the night time black and white.

DAY 4:

When I came to the helm for my 4am watch, there were 78 miles left till we reach our destination. We’ve made really great time. It rained for a while, washing all the salt from our dockhand large gentle swells are rolling from south to north. I set up the fishing lines because I’m a glutton for punishment and continued reading my book. I was listening to a suspenseful book on ‘Audible’, and just as I reached an especially intense part, a blurb came on the screen saying that the rest of the book hadn’t downloaded properly! It’s driving me crazy, so I had to start a new book.

It’s a grey day with lots of clouds, which is nice because we don’t have to deal with the intense sun. We are so excited to reach our destination this afternoon. The Galapagos! A dream come true.

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