We enjoyed our time in the Galapagos, but got the urge to start on the long ocean crossing a little earlier than originally planned. The needed repairs and sail improvements were finished and the anchorage was beginning to get crowded. There were 11 boats in the anchorage when we left this morning...Thursday, 3/20 at 7:50 AM local time. Four boats arrived yesterday and nearly all are European...German, French, Dutch and unknown because they are flying no country flag. Some of the boats do not even have a name printed on the hull.
We are not foolish enough to believe that all will stay well with Satori even though everything is in working order right now. We have a new physics theory about cruising boats. When everything on a boat is working correctly, it puts too much pressure on the system. Something else has to break to release that pressure and IT DOES! The trick is to be as creative as Sander is when the failure happens. He has started to create his own parts when we do not have them aboard. The left over delrin that we had on board has come to good use more than once.
We had a lovely time during our stay at Isla Isabela. Several times Jane went swimming with the sea lions. The smaller ones were especially curious. Jane would dive under the water and swivel her body around. They would dart closely to check it all out, but never came close enough to touch. The blue-footed boobies were a constant source of entertainment. They would (especially in the evenings) fly in groups of 3 or 4 around the boat. You would hear a squawk from one of them and immediately afterwards all of them headed straight for the water. They looked like those Japanese Harikari airplanes of WWII. At the last minute before they entered the water their whole bodies streamlined into arrows that hardly made a splash on entry. If they caught something they would go through all sorts of antics as they came to the surface in order to swallow their catch.
We met up again for a few days with our British friend, John, on Trompeta. Four of us took the local trip up to the volcano. This trip involved riding in the back of a pick-up truck and then on horse back along the rim of the old crater to the sight of the most recent eruption in 1979. Then we hiked around for a few hours to see the different examples of lava flow and some the smoking fumaroles. It was an adventurous day but we paid for it with very sore butts for about a week afterwards. The saddles on the horses were made of old tires covered with plastic tarps. The horses had minds of their own as well. They loved to take off into the puckerbrush and seemed to be intent on knocking us off!
This morning we have enjoyed a glorious send-off. It is hard to tear oneself away from looking at the island since we will be at sea for several weeks before we see land again. The seas were totally calm and we were motoring along at a good pace seeing many marine turtles. They were just floating on the top until they would finally look up to see us going by and dive under the water. Then we started to see something really curious. There would be two finlike objects about 6' apart right at the surface. As we approached closer we could see that these were the tips of the wings of very large rays, probably mantas. They were keeping their balance at the surface by raising the tips of their wings. Some appeared to be 8' wide. We also saw, from a distance, two huge animals that must have been whales.
Fish? You want to know about the fishing? We did hook one. Please notice that I did not say that we brought it in. Another one takes the whole hook and flips off to die on its own in the deep. After replacing hook and sending it back out, we had such a big strike that the fish snapped the whole 80 pound test line and took hook, lure and leader with it. We will keep trying as we do love to eat fish.
We hope that you will be interested to follow our trip on the ship tracking system. Several of our friends have written that the best web sight to use is at http://mmsn.techmonkeys.net/. At this website you would enter our ham radio ID which is AA1SA and you will be able to track our progress across the Pacific. We have a total distance of 2900 miles to cover and are headed for the Gambiers Islands of French Polynesia. Those islands are located at 23 degrees south and 135 degrees west if you care to look in your atlas.
If you would like to communicate with us, please use our ham radio address which is **
Our thanks again to our friends Greg and Catherine who are helping to get this message onto the hotmail account to go out to all of you as we cruise.
Best wishes from Jane and Sander aboard S/V Satori somewhere in the South Pacific