Hello Galapagos. See you soon. Caught 3kg tuna & had sashimi. Hooked a huge beast which snapped our 35kg line. Tuna with balsamic vinegar sauce and cabbage/grapefruit salad for dinner
Finally good wind. Alessio is sunburned AGAIN. Got too much damn cabbage. Send cabbage recipes. John Collins for Cocktail Hour. Burgers with blue cheese and bacon for dinner.
So what do you actually do on a sailboat when you are 5 days out at sea between Panama and Galapagos. I wrote it all down during the day and it's not much despite that this happened to be one of the more active days due to a couple of repair jobs. Here goes:
8:00 - My shift starts at 8am so I slowly make my way out of bed. 4½ hour of sleep is not quite enough. Simon and Alessio are both awake after the night watch and giving the boat a bit of love. The wind gauge stopped working and we disassemble the display and reconnects the cables. Unfortunately to no awail so the hypothesis is now that some water seeped into it and it needs some time to dry. Maybe just a fools hope.
9:30 - Spend an hour in the kitchen cleaning last nights plates and making pancakes for breakfast. Certainly not the best place to be on a rocking boat. Hot and with no visual sea. It feels good when you finally emerge with a tray of pancakes, maple syrop and Nutella.
11:30 - Alessio heads off for a nap but hears a rattling sound. The following investigation finds that it is simply the lower protection on the starboard stay that is a bit loose. Nothing to worry about. However, during the investigation we discover that a bolt on the baseplate of the starboard stay has snapped and the baseplate is coming loose. This would ultimately lead to the mast falling off which falls under the category 'suboptimal'. We spend the next hour replacing the bolt and tightens the remaining bolts on both stays. After this emotional experience we drink a cold beer.
12:30 - Alessio prepares a simple (but very good) salad for lunch. The fridge is packed with vegetables and there should be plenty for the whole week of sailing.
13:30 - We film our female companion, Judy, in the various situations that she encounters every day on the boat. She is happy to be the center of attention.
15:00 - I read in a boat manual for two minutes but the style of writing reminds me of work (or university) and I need to lie down for 30 minutes and nap.
17:00 - The bathroom light in my cabin stopped working several months ago. The switch was rusted through and we have bought a new one. One of the more annoying features of seawater is that it deteriorates everything on a boat so you have the constant joy of replacing electrical installations.
Since we are taking it all apart we would also like to replace the old halogen light with led lights which use a fraction of the energy. Simon bought 10m cable with led lights and you simply cut off as many lights as you need and connect it to the 12V supply. Brilliant. But rather difficult to solder wires onto and the unruly motions of the ocean doen't exactly help.
19:00 - Simon cooks chicken rapped in bacon with roasted vegetables and mashed potatoes. Unfortunately, most of the accompanying sauce is spilled on the floor when the boat hits a wave. Cooking on open sea is a delicate act. It also affects the way you walk around on the boat with bended knees and hunched back to keep the center of gravity low. Like kids just learning to walk. It's difficult to predict the motions on a catamaran compared to a monohaul.
20:00 - The wind calms a bit so we remove the reef in the sail. Simon heads off to bed to get some sleep before his watch. I look at the video of Judy and update the log of this very eventful day.
22:00 - I nap for 45 minutes before it's my shift. The wind has picked up again so we put a reef in the sail. I spend another quiet night watch looking at the stars, listening to the waves and reading my current book on the eReader: 'Five minutes past midnight in Bhopal' about the tragic industrial disaster of a pesticide plant in India. Good uplifting reading.
02:00 - Simon takes the watch and we share a cup of tea before I head to bed. The wind is now only 4m/s so we put away the jib and starts motoring SW. Another day on the Pacific is over and we are 210 km closer to Galapagos.
Boat made yogurt for breakfast. Fresh bread and cheese for lunch. Afternoon squall with plenty of rain but no wind afterwards. Negroni for Cocktail Hour and frittata for dinner.
Speared a shark. Had shark taco for dinner. Hit first squall and finally found civilized wind... and got a boat wash. Watched the movie Kontiki and enjoyed italian wine. Life's good.
Motoring south. Pancakes for breakfast. Dolphins everywhere. Strange waves. Scanna vomits a lot. Life's good. Send more messages... and fish!
It is finally going to happen, we are about to set sails to Galapagos and we won't see land for the next 8 days or so.
Skimpy is really loaded with everything we'll need for the next 3 months or so and the good stuff is not missing: every kind of asian spice, curry paste, soy sauce, rice vinegar...as you know Simon, he found an asian shop in Panama and it was like leaving a kid alone in a candy shop! 75 liters of beer, 18 bottles of wine, 12 of champagne, pasta, rice...literally we could cook whatever we'd like to make our voyage real pleasure.
The weather forecast is quite bad, apparently we'll have to motor for a couple of days before getting some wind :-( but as soon as we get some we could finally kill the engines and just listen to the sound of the open sea sorrounded by thousands shades of blue.
As our last day close to shore, yesterday we had real quality meals (as a priority on Skimpy): danish pancakes and fresh baked bread for breakfast, mozzarella caprese for lunch and our last dinner before setting sails has been gorgeous: korean bbq on land! We loaded the bbq and all we needed on the dinghy so we set it up on a remote beach and started cooking..Oh my god: that was delicious such as grilled pork belly, premium indian rice, spicy onion salad and cabbage salad dressed with rice vinegar and sesame seeds oil :-P
It's hard to believe but it took us something like 3 days to store and categorize all the shopping, diving gear, spare parts in order that when we need something we know where to find it, and (also hard to believe) we worked hard in hot days to make our dreams become reality; it definitely worth the price for freedom and self-sufficiency.
Let the destiny's wind take us high...dancing with the stars.
Alessio, Simon & Tue
We have finally left Panama behind and arrived at Isla Contadora in Las Perlas just 10 miles off the coast. The farewell to Panama was very much as expected and in full accordance with the other experiences we had with canal authorities and immigration.
Our agent in Colon (a slick, young guy with an impressive amount of gel in his short, curly hair) had promised to take care of all formalities regarding the boat and crew but when SImon and Alessio arrived at immigration that was not exactly what they got. Not only had he "forgot" to fill out two forms (which in the land of bureaucracy is almost punishable by death) but he had also added some information to a form after he left the office. When the immigration eventually rang up the office in Colon and discovered the discrepancies between the form and the copy, we were even accused of fraud. In case someone is wondering, we won't be using Yariel as agent again if we should ever have the misfortune to be in Colon once more.
This resulted in a series of harsh words from Captain Simon and once back on the boat we immediately raised anchor (with our new and wonderful anchor chain) and headed away from the wretched city. As the skyline of Panama City slowly faded away in the horizon the positive energy came back along with the exciting feeling of adventure that is about to start. Likely induced by the bottle of cremant that we opened (with the winch handle, of course).
The boat is currently a big mess since only half of the provisioning is stored away so everywhere is bags with food and machine parts. This will hopefully be sorted tomorrow and then we depart for Galapagos in the evening. What we now have on the boat is all there is for the next 10 days which is slightly scary. No more water, food or diesel until we reach Galapagos. But we have enough. 675 liters of water and 3000 dollars worth of food and essential fluids. 15L of rum. 10 bottles of gin. 12 bottles of bubbles. 12 cases of beer plus an assortment of essential spirits for cocktail hour.