SV Jubilant Panama to Galapagos
Aloha from the S Pacific,
Today finds JT Sorensen and I rolling along in gentle Pacific Ocean trade winds doing a pokey, but pleasant 6 knots. We are two weeks out of San Cristobal Island, Wreck Bay, Galapagos Islands and have logged 2120 miles so far. We have 1080 miles to go to anchorage at Amanu Atoll in the Tuamotu archipelago of French Polynesia. I expect to spend a few weeks sailing and diving in those islands before arriving Tahiti around 5 weeks from now.
Now the big news--Ta Daa! I finished sailing around the globe for the first time back on March 13 when we passed 104 degrees west longitude. Often sailors consider completion of a circumnavigation when they cross their "outbound Track". Since I am not sailing back to Seattle but going around again, maybe, I am using the Longitude of Manzanillo, Mexico where I was 5 1/2 years ago. I didn't really set out to sail around the world, but have and the achievement feels pretty fine. There should be a bunch
of new pictures of the Panama and Galapagos parts of the trip on svjubilant.com for you to check out.
The question I am asked recently is, what is next? I am not sure. This is a marvelous life as long as my body holds up, and it is doing fine. After Tahiti I could sail up to Hawaii and settle in to an American life style. Another time around the world may be in the cards. There were a lot of places in the Pacific, South East Asia and the Indian Ocean, that I may not have gotten enough of. We will see what happens next. For today, this sure is great trade wind sailing!
Love, Denny Morgan
Hi Family and Pals,
I am at sea tonight with JT Sorensen as crew on the way from the Galapagos Islands to the Tuamotus in French Polynesia, about a three week crossing of 3000 miles. We are at 1 degree south now, no wind, and a coolish night by the equator due to the unique Galapagos climate.
My pals Charlie Cronheim and JT Sorensen have been on Jubilant with me since Colon Panama. They have conscientiously prepared photo files on a site called Picasso 3 of the canal transit, Balboa, the stops at the Perlas Islands, the 850 mile passage to the Galapagos Islands and our wanderings here. You will enjoy them. Check out HTTP://picasaweb.google.com/sealandia where there is a lot to see about this part of the trip.
The Canal transit is a two day affair that I experienced in advance by serving as crew on Spanish Stroll, a boat from California. The process is a little demanding, requiring 4 line handlers tending 125 foot lines and 10 fenders made up from car tires with garbage bag coverings, a pilot for each day, an overnight stay on a mooring in the Gatun Lake and 5 locks to make it through. We all did well on both transits. The second one on Jubilant we rafted along an Austrian boat with a very uncooperative
skipper whose transmission failed just before the 3rd lock. We were expected to lug his uncooperative --- through the last 3 locks. Charlie's picture shows us entering the last Mila Flores Lock in front of a monster freighter. The larger Austrian boat is on my port side. What doesn´t show is me shouting to the other skipper to only use his bow thruster when asked to so I can get us into the lock without damage. We did OK. It was an adventure. After the last lock we cut "Black Perl" loose with pleasure.
Balboa and Panama City made for good provision shopping. They were both pretty nice places where Colon and the Shelter Bay Marina on the Caribbean side of the Canal were dumps with bad shopping, safety and service. My recommendation to yachts following from the Caribbean is to spend no more than a night or two at Shelter Bay Marina before the Canal transit. It is expensive and offers very poor service while being located a very long way ($20 cab ride from any shops). Colon has over a murder per day
and little to attract a yacht. Do provisioning on the Pacific side where there are a few fine shopping centers and reasonably safe anchorages.
I had little advance notice of the great cruising ground represented by the Perlas Islands in the Gulf of Panama, just 50 miles away from Balboa. They are really lovely and relatively free of people on most islands. If I had planned the trip differently, the Perlas could have easily made for a 2 month cruise. They are even another reason to get through the Canal early to enjoy the Pacific side of the canal. We sailed for the Galapagos Islands from Isla Pedro Gonzales, Perlas Islands for a slow 5
day trip to Wreck Bay, Galapagos on January 29. There was only a few hours of wind on the trip. We used a lot of diesel and the flat sea was often quieter than a typical anchorage.
As we got close to the islands the sea temperature dropped dramatically due to the Humboldt current that sweeps cool water past the Galapagos group from the southern ocean. We arrived Wreck Bay, San Cristobal Island on February 5 having logged 850 miles. The Galapagos are volcanic islands first written about extensively by Charles Darwin in his "Origin of the Species" following his visit there on the Beagle in 1830. They are mostly protected nature reserve of the government of Ecuador to protect
the unusual species of birds, giant turtles, iguanas and limited vegetation found there. There are three settlements where yachts are allowed to stop after paying large (try $800) fees or only stopping at one of the tourist centers at Wreck Bay or Admiralty Bay on Isla Santa Cruz for a few days just to fuel and provision. Those locations were ok, but focused on supporting the tour boat businesses. We went for the $800 dollar deal and got 40 days to visit the four allowed anchorages. Nature watching
was done in land tours covered in the pictures. We did some snorkeling with sharks, bottom scraping in company with sea lions and morning coffee while watching penguins swim around the boat. It wasn´t a paradise due to the bureaucracy, but a fascinating place.
Two days ago Charlie flew out for home. JT and I did a day of projects and sailed this afternoon, March 6, for Polynesia.
Love to all, Denny DBA Poppa Boat
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