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Published: April 25th 2008
Greetings from the Marquesas,What you say? What happened to the Galapagos, Los Pearlas?
Well, we left Panama mid February and got to Isla Contadora, made famous for South American leaders conferences and the rich and famous including the late Shah of Iran who had a house here.
The weather was sort of grey and we rapidly moved to the south of the group to await a “window” of weather to make the crossing. We’d hooked up with an Aussie cat “Shamara”and on the call of their weather router took off.
Our grib files looked fairly good as well , however they lied and we motored for all but about a 20 hour sail arriving in San Cristobal 7 days later.
Plenty is known and told about the Galapagos, but visiting by sailboat is not the greatest, the Ecuadorians are very protective and with
their regulations make it difficult to do a lot. As brother Bill recalled his 10 day small cruise boat trip 2 years ago revealed many more sights and experiences. If I did it again I would leave the boat in Santa Cruz and take the tour. As it was we obtained an “Autografo” by paying an agent which allowed us to stay 60 days and travel to the 5 inhabited Islands anchoring, and checking in with the authorities (and paying various fees) in designated anchorages.
So although it was all fun our best days were a trip to the tunnels, snorkeling through lava mazes, swimming with turtles and my dives on Gordon rocks out of Santa Cruz. Every activity it seems, except eating and drinking required a guide. The tortoise hatcheries of course were interesting and fascinating.
So after 4 ½ weeks we stocked up the shelves and fridges and managed to clear out on the eve of Easter to avoid 5 day holiday and proceeded on our 3000 mile journey with favorable weather Gribs in hand. We motored for a day, then drifted for a day, then motored for a second day, no more than 5 knots of wind!!!
This went on for the first week making barely more than 100 mile days with the highlight being Bill’s fresh bread and oatmeal cookies.
The second week fared better with decent winds , few squalls and most day runs 165 +/- with one 180 and one 190 mile day.
The third week went quiet on us again and we eventually arrived at the Bay if Virgins, Fatu Hiva, Marquesas after 22 days. Speaking with others subsequently it was a fair run and fortunately for me I wasn’t set adrift in a dingy.
The Marquesas are a relatively young group of islands so have no protective barrier reef, however they are magnificent in their volcanic jutting to the sky green and rockery. There are many yachts sailing in this direction and it has been fun to catch up with “old” friends and meet new ones.
French Polynesia , we have quickly discovered, is rather expensive. $100US will buy 24 cans of beer, 3 750ml of Tahitian rum or 60 litres of diesel. OUCH!!!! So we will be speeding things up a bit and heading to the Tuomoto in the next days on the way to Papeete in about 2 weeks.
Bill and Charlie are leaving the boat in the next few weeks and so Somerset Cat needs crew for the ongoing journey most likely via Cook Islands , Tonga , Fij, Vanuatu and New Caledonia en route to Oz by the end of October. This is the most likely passage although things can change without notice!! Anyone interested should e-mail me and although the Satellite system I am using has evaporated at the moment the wi-fi in Polynesia is quite good and I will be connected about every week.
So, Cheers to all, keep the replies and e-mails coming. M
PS: the bloody pics have evaporated, but I will keep on trying,very trying!!
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