This wreck is from the San Blas islands in Panama, not Wreck Bay. It’s nevertheless an effective admonishment that the mariner not become complacent.

8 March

Pulled into Puerto Baquerizo Moreno (English name the much more foreboding Wreck Bay), Isla San Cristóbal, about 1100 after an easy passage across from Panama. We did see some stretches of 12-20 knot breezes but for the most part the winds were quite light (8 knots or less) and we did motor sail for a few multi-hour stretches. Happily the seas were flat or nearly so and the wind was on or aft our beam almost all the time, perfect for maximizing speed and ease of boat handling and minimizing boat motion.

This boat, about 55,000 pounds displacement as she lies right now, fully laden, is astonishing in its sailing ability. In light airs we can sail half or nearly half the wind speed – thus 4 or 5 knots in 8-10 knots of breeze. And when the wind gets up to 20-25 knots on the beam, the boat can easily touch 10 knots. Granted, we did motor perhaps a third of the time to get here, but still, we easily averaged 165 miles a day.

We’ve yet to see any heavy weather, so no observations yet on how the boat handles in wild conditions. Reportedly the delivery crew had to get through gale-force winds and nasty conditions crossing the Gulfstream when delivering the boat from Annapolis to Grenada last November, and the boat handled the rough going like a champ.

9 March

Waiting to complete the check-in process. Official people have to inspect the hull and probably do a cursor look-around belowdecks, stamp passports and a thick sheaf of other papers, and of course collect a big stack of US dollars. So here we sit under the yellow Q (quarantine) flag.

1015: Still waiting. 11:30: All done; we’re free to go ashore. Total time from arrival to final clearance: about 24 hours. Fortunately we passed the hull inspection. Whether this was because our agent Bolívar had his thumb on the scales in our favor or because our hull really was very clean I don’t know. I think the latter, as we put a lot of work into cleaning it, and I saw other cleared-in hulls at anchor that didn’t look nearly as clean as ours.

Whew. No one was relishing the prospect of being sent back to sea, to clean the hull 40 miles offshore, or of just skipping the Galápagos entirely.

Possible change in route plans: Looks as though we might head to the Gambier islands – southeast corner of the Tuamotus, still part of French Polynesia – rather than to Nuku Hiva in the Marquesas. Also some talk of going to Vanuatu and continuing west to New Caledonia and Papua Guinea rather than heading down to New Zealand. I think in the larger scheme of things Matt and Ana would like to head farther west, then north up to Japan, then ultimately complete a circumnavigation of the Pacific by passing through the Aleutian islands.

All is scratched lightly in sand at low tide. Stay tuned.

One Response to “Galápagos”

  • Jackie Parry says:

    We loved the Gambiers – but watch for strong/differeing winds either side- the crescent shape of the island can cause winds to accelerate. I’m not sure it happens often – but certainly created a terrifying night for us! Can’t wait to see where you all end up!