Playa Loberia, Leon Dormido, Islas Lobos, Galapagos

Posted 30 March 2011

Friday morning 25 March we took a taxi to Playa Loberia to do some snorkeling with turtles and sea lions and also to see the marine iguanas. This is a beautiful beach with great surf. We arrived early in the morning at high tide and many surfers were already surfing.

The water was quite refreshing, colder than in Central America, but still nice to snorkel. We saw our first turtles and I was very happy. The water was so clear you could see for quite far. Took lots of pictures and a beautiful video of swimming with the turtle. By the size of this turtle he must be older than the rest we saw. The sea lions was not that active so we did not get any underwater photos of them there.

What a great morning we had, met some young men from Brazil traveling. They were surfing and Dinis had a great time speaking Portuguese again. They invited us to join them snorkeling on Saturday at Leon Dormido and Islas Lobos. So Saturday morning we left for our snorkeling and what a blast we had. We did see Galapagos sharks, not big sharks about 1 to 1.5 meters, lots of turtles and fish.

On Sunday 27 March, we went for a tour of the island. Our first stop was at El Junco Lake. We walked around the lake and had a great view of the island. We then stoped at Cerro Colorado Galapagos Breeding Station to see the Giant tortoises. This is very interesting and these tortoises are really big. Their size completely surprised me. We did some more sightseeing before we left for lunch.

Monday 28 March, we took our Brazilian friends for a sail on our boat. There was not much wind, but still we had a wonderful time with Gabriel, Fabio and Thobias. It was nice to have the young men onboard and I missed Morgan even more. As all young guys, they were full of energy so Dinis suggested that they go up the mast while we were motoring. What a thrill for them, on goes the safety harness and up they go. Tobias went first with his camera and took some lovely photos from the top, next was Fabio and then Gabriel. Dinis cooked a special Bacalhau dish for us all. All the sailing photos are curtesy of Thobias.

Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, Galapagos

Posted 25 March 2011

Puerto Baquerizo Moreno is the capital of the province of Galapagos, it is characterized by its devoted people and it is mainly fishing and tourism activities that have come to develop, in a sustainable way, the environment. The highlands of San Cristobal have many farms and cattle ranches.

On this island there was a fishing company called 'The Land' which had its flowering for the years 1952 - 1960. In addition a large successful sugar mill was installed and led by Manuel J. Cobos.

Since a hundred years ago San Cristobal island has always been inhabited, it is mainly because of its many sources of fresh water, located in the mountains inside the island. At an altitude of 650 meters a freshwater lake in the crater of El Junco can be found. This lake is filled during the rainy season and the crater walls do not leak. Many frigate birds use this water to clean their feathers of the salt.

Interpretation Center, Galapagos National Park

Posted 23 March 2011

We visited the Interpretation Center of Galapagos National Park yesterday. It is located at the northern edge of town. It is composed of three independent buildings connected by walk ways. Presents exhibition halls and conference rooms, natural history that explains the origin of the islands, human history that describes the presence of man since the discovery of the Galapagos Conservation and lounge showing interest in protecting and conserving the environment. It also has some trails that can be traversed without a guide, an outdoor auditorium available, some scale models of boats and a map in high relief of the islands.

We loved this place, very clean and friendly. On the trails we saw lots of geckos, small birds, sea lions, firgard birds, pelicans, an iguana, insects and spiders. The spiders make their webbing between trees, and some over the walkway. We walked into a few spider webs and then kept our hats on.

On the malecon we saw lots of sea lions, a children's play park full of sea lions, they come as close as about 1 meter of the roads as well. There is a tidal sea pool that the local kids enjoy swimming, as do the baby sea lions. Quite interesting that human and animal shares the same pool without incident. Adult sea lions kept to one side of the pool while the baby sea lions swam.

We arrived in Galapagos

Posted 21 March 2011

We arrived !! We made it in 5 and half days. We had a great day sailing and also had a small celebration crossing the equator. I had the camera ready to capture the changing from North to South, but was too slow and only manage to capture 00 degrees 00.0018 minutes South. So we are officially in the southern hemisphere. Dinis was on the ham radio talking to our friend Stephen in Gautemala. Afterwards Dinis gave a toast and a healthy shot of rum to King Neptune.

We drop anchor at 19:00 local time in the dark in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, Isla San Cristobal, Galapagos. Not too difficult bay at night, but we kept to the entrance of the bay for the night. We might re-anchor tomorrow during daylight.

On route to Galapagos - Day 5

Posted 21 March 2011

Sunday 20 March was a continuation from the previous day, the same weather conditions. At least yesterday both Dinis and myself were feeling more energetic. Beating into the weather, although the seas are not big (about 3 feet swell) is very tiring. The wind changed during the night to a SE direction. This was exactly what we were waiting for, as we were about 10 degrees off course and can now sail more directly. We have done 138 nm in the last 24 hours and have another 82 nm left. At times we had 2 knots of current with us.
Please join us for a mid-morning toast today, we will pass the equator. We we should reach Isla San Cristobal later today. We are hoping for a day time arrival, but that might not be possible. That will make the trip 5 and half days.

On route to Galapagos - Day 4

Posted 20 March 2011

Today, Saturday 19 March was one of the best sailing days so far. The wind changed blowing from the South 10 to 14 knots. This is great and we also have at least 1 knot of current with us. We did a 115 nm in the last 24 hours, still 220 nm left to Isla San Cristobal. We saw no traffic all day and night, making for a long and boring 24 hours. We did pass the halfway point around lunch time, I tried to make a cheese pan bread for celebration, but it was not my best. Both Dinis and myself were feeling lethargic and Dinis was suffering from a headache as well, I assume it is from the heat. In the late afternoon we got another 2 booby bird hitch hikers. They stayed the night on the pulpit. Now we can really call it the poop deck.

On route to Galapagos - Day 3

Posted 19 March 2011

The third day was full of surprises. Our stowaway juvenile booby bird left early this morning, I assume that Isla Del Coco was close enough to fly to. At that time we were about 130 nm south east of the island. We are still steaming along under engine, but had at least a few hours of sailing. We saw lots of dolphins today, they swam around us for at least an hour. I took lots of little video clips. In the afternoon our fun started, we had lots of squalls, not much wind, the max we saw was 16 knots, but the rain was very heavy. It came down in buckets. Both Dinis and myself got drenched, was quite refreshing after all the heat. The wind was all over the place during the squalls, so after trying to keep the boat sailing during the squalls we gave up and furled the genoa and drop the main, as we had to constantly jibe. The squalls left us with confused seas and very light winds. We have about 1 knot current with us which is great. It was a rolly night.

On route to Galapagos - Day 2

Posted 18 March 2011

The second day was uneventful except that we still have our hitch hiker on board. It is amazing that the bird sits on the pulpit all this time, without moving.
During the day it is very hot inside, maximum temperature reached was 35 degrees Celsius. Luckily we run the water maker at least every other day, as nothing cools you down like a cold, or rather warmish shower. The temperature of the ocean water is 27 degrees Celsius and the colour is a beautiful turquoise.

Finally last night we started the engine and motor sail. The wind dropped below 5 knots and at times we were not moving at all. We had a very clear evening and the nearly full moon lights the ocean so that everything is quite visible. We saw no traffic.

Good news for all the people that send a QSL card to our address in Canada. We have received an email from our son Morgan with all the call signs and names, so Dinis will send his QSL card to all after we cleared into Galapagos. Please also note that we gave up on forwarding our mail, as the process took too long and was too complicated. Since we started our trip in July 2010, we did not manage to get our mail forwarded.

On route to Galapagos - Day 1

Posted 17 March 2011

At 07:30 am this morning were our first 24 hours. We did 116 nm on a very pleasant trip. The wind is from SW between 7 to 10 with the occasional 12 knots. Although we are on the beat the sailing is great, not much heel. We are able to sail a straight course to Galapagos 215 degrees true with our speed over ground 4 to 5 knots. We have another 570 nm to go and if the wind continue like this we should arrive in 6 days time. We saw quite a bit of commercial traffic during the night.

I managed to bake bread and roast a whole bunch of garlic at the same time. This morning on Dinis watch he saw that we have a juvenile booby bird catching a ride with us. Not sure how long the bird will stay. We put some water, but the bird did not respond to the water as yet. We caught 3 fishes, but no keepers. The first fish managed to get away, the second was a skipjack, which we released back and the last fish was eaten and we only pull out the head.

We are quite tired as is normal for the first couple of days.

Clearing out in Golfito, Costa Rica

Posted 16 March 2011

We had an absolute fantastic time at Fishhook Marina. Management at the marina is doing a great job, friendly staff are always willing to lent a hand. The food are very good, every meal on the menu tasted great. We worked very hard getting the boat ready for our trip to Galapagos. All the standing rig was washed and inspected, the bilges washed and tested, Dinis fixed the little problem we had with the wind vane, the boat, the sails and all the canvas were washed. Dinis dived again to clean the bottom of the boat and also the propeller. We spend a little more time than what we anticipated, but with the heat there was no other way. We had little time to explore Golfito, but the town was clean and we had a warm feeling from the people.

Yesterday, Tuesday 15 March we took the bus to Paso Canoas to do our big provisioning. It was a very interesting trip and very busy. The shops are on the border between Costa Rica and Panama. Entering a shop from the front you are in Costa Rica, exiting at the back door you are in Panama. We ended up buying all our provisioning from City Mall in Panama. What a beautiful shop and it has air conditioning. We especially stock up on tin green vegetables as our trip from Galapagos to the Marquesas will be about 25 to 32 days.

While we were shopping the marina took care of our International Zarpe, getting our passports stamped and paying the exit duties. This was a great service they did, as we heard other cruisers doing the clearing out by themselves having quite a hard time. We were extremely happy for this service, as this was the easiest checking out by far and coming in second was clearing out in El Salvador at Barrillas Marina. We were very impressed with the professionalism of Lidia Galimany, the General Manager, and her staff. Anybody that want to get information can visit the marina web page at or email

We also met great fellow cruisers and fishermen at the marina. We also met up with our friends Janet and John from s/v Wanderlust. They arrived a few days after we did in Golfito. We were very fortunate to meet Rosemary and her son David, unfortunately her husband was away for work during our stay at the marina. They are the proud owners of the world famous 1928 Staysail Schooner NINA since 1988. NINA became famous in the 1928 race from New York to Santander, Spain, for which she was expressly built. She won the 3900 mile race in 24 days and was greeted by King Alfonso from his launch.

We left the marina yesterday to fuel up and drop anchor for the night. This morning we left Golfito at 07:30 am local time. We have 707 nm mile to go and there are not much wind forecast for today. We will continue motoring at a low rpm and I will do another weather report to see if the wind will improve. For now we will do a straight course towards Isla San Cristobal, in Galapagos. We have a small current in our favour.

I will do a position report every morning so you can follow our progress across the ocean.

Not impacted by Tsunami

Posted 11 March 2011

Just to let everyone know that Golfito was not impacted by the Tsunami at all. Everyone at the marina were monitoring the situation very closely, but we did not have any swell or sign of any abnormal tides.

Golfito, Costa Rica

Posted 10 March 2011

We left Isla Del Cano at 02:45 am and had no wind, so motoring it was. We had the current against us for about 3 hours and then it improved. We got wind when we were turning into Dulce Golf and were sailing nicely downwind. We arrived just after 4 pm in the afternoon in a beautiful Golfito.  We had our first rain since we left Vancouver just after we anchored. This was great cooled the boat down a bit. It is extremely hot and even with the fans going full speed the average temperature during the day is between 32 and 35 degrees Celsius inside the boat.

We are currently at Fish Hook marina doing some work on the boat. Today was the big washing the boat day. Dinis washed all the standing rig. Took all morning and in the afternoon we vinegar washed the boat and soap washed all the canvas.

Tomorrow we have to wash all the sails and the rest of the boat. We decided that we will get somebody at the marina to do the polishing, just not enough energy left. Where is 'Morgie' now ? Dinis will do another bottom cleaning just before we go.

We decided that we will do all our major provisioning from here. The Panama border is just 35 miles and they have nice shops at the border. This will save us at least 2 days going there by boat and do the shopping. The prices of grocceries are just much cheaper in Panama. We will check out the next weather window to make our way to Galapagos. Will take us between 7 to 12 days to get there. We hope to leave here around 15 March, depending on weather.

Isla Del Cano, Costa Rica

Posted 7 March 2011

Costa Rica has a much more beautiful coastline so far. It is more rugged and lots of reefs. More of a lush vegetation. We stayed an extra day in Bahia Tamarindo. Our friends from s/v Wanderlust arrived on Thursday and drop anchor close by. We were both heading out the next day, Wanderlust to Bahia Samara and us to Bahia Carrillo, which is the next bay.

We left Friday morning 4 March under light winds, but soon it was gusting 25 to 28 knots. We had the staysail up and 2 reefs in the main, doing good speed. By midday the offshore wind changed to onshore and we had a beautiful beam reach sail for most of the way in moderate winds.

We drop anchor around 5 pm in a very beautiful bay. It was rolly during the night, but not enough to cause sleeplessness. We got up early Saturday morning 5 March for our overnight sail to Isla Del Cano, 110 nm south east. We had little wind but towards Cabo Blanco the wind picked up and we had good sailing for 3 hours although it was on the nose and we had to tack back and forth just to make headway. After we pass Cabo Blanco the wind direction changed in our favour and we were on a close haul all the way. The wind drop towards evening and we motorsail.

Isla Del Cano is a small Biological Reserve. It used to be an ancient cemetery. Archeologists have uncovered pottery, carved stone artifacts and highly precise stone spheres typical of the Diquis. These artifacts date back to 200 to 800 BC. Most of the archeology artifacts were destroy by an American businessman that wanted to make the island a casino. The Costa Rican government interfered in time and stopped the project and declare the island a biological reserve.

This island is famous for divers. It has clear water, tropical fish and non-aggressive reef sharks. The visibility can range from 50' to 100' or more. This island has Costa Rica's largest coral building organisms in the Pacific.

This morning we went for a hike on the island sightseeing and also to see the small archeological site. The forest is just beautiful, the trees must be thousand of years old. Very tropical with lots of ferns and plants. The leaves from the trees and plants are very thick under foot and the trees roots are all over, making walking quite difficult. We heard lots of birds, but did not see any.

After our hike we went back to the boat, got something to eat and got our snorkel gear. We were hoping to see some sharks or manta rays but no luck. We did see lots of fish and it was great snorkeling between the reefs.

We would like to stay some more time here, but unfortunately we have to get to Golfito. We are leaving around 3 am tomorrow morning, Tuesday 8 March, as it would take us about 14 hours. We need to get ready for our trip to the north of Panama for a major provisioning, before we leave for Galapagos and Marqueses, hopefully by mid-March.

We will upload our photos of Costa Rica when we have internet again.

Playa Del Coco, Costa Rica

Posted 2 March 2011

We left San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua, early Friday morning 25 February. This was the first break in the Papagayo winds and we wanted to make the 60 nm miles to Costa Rica as soon as possible. We motored all the way with 4 to 6 knots of wind from the back. We dropped anchor around 4:30 pm on Friday afternoon. We tried to contact the Port Captain to check into the country, but there was no reply, most probably they have closed for the weekend.

Playa Del Coco is a beautiful bay with a long sandy beach and not much swell. There was quite a few sailboats and local fishing boats anchored in the bay. We went to bed rather early.

The next morning Dinis and myself got the hooka system ready so that we can clean the bottom of the boat and also changing the zincs. One zinc was totally gone, two was nearly gone and the 4th zinc OK. The last time we changed the zincs we were in Ensenada, Mexico. So it lasted about 4 months. Dinis changed the 3 zincs and then spend about 2 hours underwater cleaning the bottom of the boat on the port side. I was cleaning the bootstrap. The water was very clear and warm, very enjoyable. Dinis developed a blister on his second last toe on each foot from the fins.

Later during the day our friends Janet and John from S/V Wanderlust arrived. They also left San Juan Del Sur on Friday morning, but spend Friday night at Bahia Santa Elena.

On Sunday we continued cleaning the starboard side. It seems to be going much faster this time around. After lunch we put the dinghy in the water, put the engine on and went for a little ride in the bay.

We arranged with Janet and John that we will pick them up on Monday morning, so that we all can go to the Port Captain for check-in. We arrived just after 8 am at the Port Captain's office and the Port Captain gave us all the info what to do and where to go. So it seemed easy enough, so off we went to make some photocopies of our documents and then off the bank to withdraw money. The first bank we were not successful, so off to the next bank where we were successful getting money. The next stop was immigration. The lady immigration officer gave us forms to fill out. She then informed us to return after 11 am as the electricity is down and nothing can be done until then.

It is hot, no breeze, so we decided to get something cold and something to eat while we wait. We arrived at around 11:30 back at immigration and got all the papers signed and our passports stamped. Now we went to go to the bank to deposit the money for check-in before we are to return to the Port Captain with the receipts and be in time for the Inspection officer at 1 pm. This is were the whole check-in fell apart. We were all lucky that Dinis could speak Spanish (or as he likes to call it 'Portanol', as Portuguese is very similar to Spanish). At the bank after we stood in line for some time, Dinis asked one of the bank personnel if we are standing in the correct line for depositing the money. He told us no, we should speak to one of the staff members in a different area, so we went and stood in another line. At least this line was not too long so we were happy. The lady told Dinis that she have never seen this and that the Port Captain must be mistaken. We have to go back and speak to him again. Dinis got her name and phone number and so we went back to the Port Captain, just to be told that the lady at the bank is wrong and we need to go back. At least the Port Captain phoned her and confirmed that we should go back and do the deposit. Back at the bank we got back into the original line, which was now twice as long, will be more than 1 hours wait. We will miss the Inspection officer, so we decided that Dinis will go to another bank and try to deposit the money there, John will go back to the Port Captain's office to wait for the Inspection officer and Janice and myself will stay in line, incase Dinis was not successful.

After 1 pm Janet and myself were getting worried as we did not hear from Dinis as yet, so we decided that I will go to the other bank to check on Dinis. When I arrive there he was second in line, in the mean time John had trouble as the Inspection officer had a schedule and wanted to go. He asked the officer if by all possible for them to go and check on Dinis and the rest of us, which he graciously agreed to do. By the time John and the Inspection officer arrived at the bank Dinis was successful with the deposit for both boats. Our luck was turning as when the Inspection officer saw the receipts the bank lady gave for the deposit, he mentioned that these were the wrong receipts. So the bank lady redid the receipts. Whow.. that saved us another trip to the bank.

Finally all done and Janet and myself stayed behind at the Port Captain's office while Dinis, John and the Inspection officer went with the dinghy to the boats for his inspection. It was quite a while before they came back, but at least the inspections went well for both boats. We waited a little longer for the paperwork and finally after about 3 pm. this part of the check-in was done. There was not enough time left to take the bus to Liberia (about 35 minutes by bus) for the customs, as they close by 4 pm. We all decided that it can wait until the next day and we went to the boat and had a drink.

On Tuesday morning Janet and myself decided that the men can go to Liberia and that we will do the groceries and some internet. Janice and myself did the groceries and we manage to launch the dinghy by ourselves without any incident and went to drop the groceries at the boats. We also manage a successful beach landing. Our average just went up, but I must admit that there was not much of any wave action. We went to a local hotel/restaurant for the internet. Dinis and John had a very successful customs experience, which was great. They went back to the Port Captain afterwards for the final paperwork and also to get our National Zarpe. So we ended the check-in at around 1 pm. Nearly 2 days...this was by far the worst and time consuming check-in.

We had lunch and then went for a walk in town sightseeing. Very friendly and warm people. We went back to the boat to prepare everything as we are leaving the next morning. John and Janice came over for a potluck supper. We had a great time.

We left this morning Wednesday 2 March for Bahia Tamarindo, which is 27 nm south of Playa Del Coco. We had a great sail, the winds was gusty at times and we had 2 reefs in the main and the genoa was furled to about 100%. Our wind vane was not keeping the boat on course, but we could not find anything wrong with it. It was most probably too much sail and not nicely trimmed. We will try it again tomorrow as we planned to go another 48 nm to Bahia Carrillo.