Leaving for the South Pacific

The best laid plans are the first ones to go by the wayside. We had planned to be underway from Bahia to the Galapagos on Feb 21st. The first roadblock was the approval of the 90 day visas for French Polynesia. The visas had to be applied for in Quito which is an eight hour bus ride from Bahia. We had thought the approval would take only a couple of days as it does at the French Consulate in Panama City. What we discovered is that there are good French Consulates and there are bad French Consulates. One cannot always be lucky in these matters. We were told to return to our boat and wait for their notification that the visas had been approved. Nearly three weeks later after a telephone call we discovered that the approval was there…probably had been there for a long time. We are happy to say that the visas are in hand and that we will never have to deal with that particular French Consulate ever again!

While Jane was in Quito for the visas, Sander was investigating the problems with the Westerbeke 5KW generator that have plagued us for a long time. He discovered part of the problem, a bad capacitor. A solution would involve finding a replacement here in Ecuador or sending to the USA for a replacement part and waiting its arrival. Luckily, our cruising friend from Trompeta was to bring an answer when he arrived in Bahia.

Perhaps some of you remember that we sailed in company with Trompeta across the southern end of Cuba and on to Haiti/Dominican Republic. We said good-bye to John and Bridget in Curacao over a year ago. John went east to Trinidad to have repairs made on his Halberg Rassey 42 and we sailed to the west. The repairs have been completed and John has caught up to us without Bridget aboard. She is staying in England until John reaches New Zealand, not being fond of long crossings. This necessitated John’s finding other crew. He is sailing now with a couple from Poole, England and a fellow from London…all three very friendly. They were also kind enough to agree to stray from their original schedule on their way to the Galapagos so that John might see us and visit for a few days. As luck would have it, John had, as a spare, just the capacitor that we needed. The generator is now humming along as it should be and we are crossing last minute items off our list as quickly as we can.

We plan to leave Bahia on Friday, Feb 28th. Our computer program says that it will take us 5.5 days to the Galapagos but that is only a prediction. We hope that some of you may follow our progress on the web as we go. At some point in the system, you will need to input our ham call-sign which is AA1SA. There are two possible programs that you might use. We have told you about one of them in the past. You will find it under www.winlink.org with some reference to “tracking position reports”. The second source is something new to us. The address is http://mmsn.techmonkeys.net. The program is called “Ship Trak” system. When we call in to the ham system for any waiting e mail messages, we notify them of our current lat/long. This lat/long is placed in the system and should appear as a new position on each of these programs. Please do not get terribly excited if our position does not move very fast. We don’t know how quickly the new data is input.

We will stay in the Galapagos for 20 days, probably at Villamil on the island of Isabella. This is the island which is the furthest to the west. We hope to spend a few days on a tour boat so that we can properly visit the islands. The rest of the time we will take short trips around the island of Isabella.

Yes, it is very exciting to be making preparations for the trip. We have enjoyed Ecuador, especially the town of Bahia, and it will always have a special place in our hearts. We are a little apprehensive about the long crossing, but can assure you all that Satori has never been in such good shape. We are READY!

Best regards,

Jane and Sander