We originally expected to stay in the Galapagos for two weeks, but the regulations and the bureaucratic red tape has only gotten worse in the 16 years since we were here last. They don't really want private yachts there, so they make it pretty restrictive. Unfortunately for us, we really wanted to stop anyway. It is an amazing place despite the restrictions, and it is conveniently located as strategic stop for fueling up and provisioning. The port captain in each island in the Galapagos is rotated from the mainland every year, as are the police, immigration and customs officers. In doing this, the government hopes to crack down on abuses of power and corruption (which is ironic because the whole country is run by a crook). The result are laws and regulations that change regularly without a notice posted for mariners. How does this effect us as a boater? You never fully know what the rules will be before getting there. That is not entirely true, if you really want to spend some money you can get an agent in Panama and set up two additional stops, but even the information on that is fuzzy. Some people we spoke to paid 2 and 3 times what other people paid. Some boats got an agent for $500, some for $100. We've been to both the two other stops allowed before, and they are just two more port cities. There is nothing you can do to visit the outer islands or other locations on the islands on your own boat. Nothing was clear and our MO is usually just to throw caution to the wind and figure things out when we get there, beg for forgiveness. We weren't sure of the cost or the number of islands we could visit before we got there. In talking to an agent that has worked in the Galapagos for 15 years she says the number of yachts visiting has dramatically decreased in the last 10 years due to the ambiguity, expense and inconsistencies in the regulations. Since we made our landfall at Cristabol, we couldn't go anywhere else. Not ideal, we were hoping we could talk our way into a better deal, but they didn't budge. With 9 other officials visiting each boat, there isn't any room for one official to bend the rules. Oh well, you win some you lose some. We did as much as we could in the week we were there. Yes, we could have stayed longer on the same island: playing with sea lions, swimming on the backs of turtles and watching the antics of a dozen endemic species, but we could also get a jump on our trip to the Marquesas and Tuamotus and effectively give ourselves another week there. Mike and I have both seen just a glimpse of both locations on the World Discoverer (cruise ship I worked on in the late nineties), to know we desperately wanted to go back. This is for the bucket list. They are both magical places and considering they are both hard to get to, it makes them all the more magical. It is hard to find places in the world that are still unexploited, and believe me we are looking.
Late in the afternoon on the 5th we pulled up the anchor, waved to a few new friends in the anchorage, and set a course for 2900 miles to the southwest. After one short stop at Five Finger Rock to snorkel we were on our way. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't apprehensive, but we were as ready as we would ever be. The kids were in good spirits after a fun week of swimming with turtles and sea lion. It was good to leave on a high note. As the sun started to set on our first day at sea we saw huge flocks of pelagic sea birds feeding, boobies diving under the boat and hundreds of Manta Rays jumping out of the water. Pelagic species sending their namesake off, we took it as a prophetic sign! Once we leave these nutrient rich waters, we don't expect too many wildlife sightings until we get closer to land.
After a night of motoring in windless conditions between the islands, the wind filled in as we left the archipelago in our wake with a lovely 15 knot breeze. Our route will take us on a rhumb line towards our destination, but once we find the trades, we expect to level off and sail due east until we get much closer to the Marquesas. Since we are already at the equator, we hope we don't have too many days of low wind/doldrums conditions and we can find the trades about 3-4 degrees South. We could motor almost 1000 miles if we really needed to, so we can afford to motor through the low wind zones, but at some point we expect we will find the consistent winds. Even if it doesn't last, cruising away from the last bits of land, with all sails flying was a good feeling. We are on our way! French Polynesia or bust!
The following pages chronicle the journey of the sailing vessel Pelagic and her crew. We are a family of 5; Michael, Amy, Zander, Porter and Anakena, taking our 42' Hallberg Rassy as far as we can comfortably go in three years. We left Oregon in September 2014, participated in the 2014 Baja Haha, continued on through the Panama Canal, into the Caribbean, up the coast of the US to Maritime Canada and from there crossed the Atlantic. After an arrival in Ireland we toured Scotland, then sailed down to France, Portugal and on to Morocco. In January of 2016 we slowed down considerably and enrolled the kids in a local Spanish school in Sanlucar de Guadiana for a few months. In the spring of 2016 we crossed the Atlantic towards the Caribbean. We are now in the Pacific, officially on our way home, albeit via a very circuitous path. We are currently in French Polynesia and looking at weather windows to Hawaii before finally making landfall back in the Pacific Northwest.
Currently our exact location is not available. Our spot coverage will pick us back up in Hawaii towards the end of May, 2017.
Our favorite sailing quote:
"If anythings gonna happen, it's gonna happen out there boss!" Captain Ron