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03/03/2014

Starblazer - 03/03/2014 - Tortoises and leaving Galapagos

03/03/2014 - Tortoises and leaving GalapagosWe spent our last full day with Richard and Stephanie taking a 3 hour taxi tour of Santa Cruz. The first stop was El Chato Tortoise Reserve, in the agricultural highlands. We had scarcely turned off the main road when we spotted the first few, mainly in the fields on either side but one was wandering down the track! To reach the reserve you walk through private land, again we saw lots of giant tortoises, then we entered the reserve. There were no fences, gates or cattle grids to keep the animals in so it was completely natural. There were a number of mud holes plus the only fresh water lagoon on the island, according to our taxi driver. Enormous ortoises were everywhere, wallowing in mud or water, blocking paths, snoozing under trees, chomping. read more...


03/03/2014

Sweet Pearl - Galapagos --> Marquesas - 2. Tag - Über den Pazifik

Gestern ging es los mit der längsten Etappe mit 2995 Seemeilen von Galapagos bis nach Hiva Oa auf Marquesas in Französisch-Polynesien. Obwohl wir dieses Mal etwas pünktlicher über die Startlinie wollten, hatten wir Verspätung, weil sich unser Grossfall verklemmt hatte. Nach 45 Minuten war das Problem entdeckt und behoben und es ging richtig los. Bis Mitternacht hatten wir dann wunderschöne Segelbedingungen und wir konnten auch einige Schiffe überholen. Heute morgen machen wir Motorsailing, da es fast kein Wind hat - und leider wird das auch so in den nächsten 2-3 Tagen bleiben. Das betrübt unsere gute Laune aber keineswegs - immerhin haben wir 140 Liter Diesel mehr als sonst dabei, das uns einen grösseren Spielraum gibt, das Wetter ist herrlich und das Schiff ist voll gebunkert mit. read more...


03/03/2014

Firefly - Leaving the Galapagos Archipelago

At noon today the World ARC fleet started the leg 4 across the Eastern Pacific to Hiva Oa in the Marquesas, French Polynesia. This is the longest leg of the whole rally. The fleet assembled just out of Puerto Ayora for the start, with a 10/5/go countdown and a well laid line, due to our racing background the crew become very competitive at this point. For this one we were close to Chika Lu, Circe and Alpheratz at the favoured committee boat (a water taxi hired for the purpose) end of the line. Firefly came out in front and now has a reputation to maintain having been first boat away from the line for all three legs, so no pressure for the next one and good preparation for the Tahiti Pearl Regatta.After rounding the first headland we unfurled the Gennaker and sailed away at 8 knots in 12. read more...


03/03/2014

Nexus - First Day Out - All Is Well

WE had an unexpected great start for Leg 3 of the Rally at noon today, with a surprise 10-15KT wind from the SW allowing all boats to sail rather than motor in the doldrums. It was a great sight to see all of the sails up and hearing the crew banter in the VHF once again, with great encouragement from the WARC staff as usual. Unfortunately we had to leave two of our own behind with Celebrate still waiting for their autopilot parts to be flown over from Ecuador Customs where they've been held for a week now, and KoKo who unfortunately had to turn back from the start as their own autopilot failed. We all cheer them on and hope they get the opportunity to catch up this week, or perhaps they will be able to sail together when they are ready. The seas are calm, wind slowly dying as we're. read more...


03/03/2014

Celebrate - Final Tours and Party Toasts on Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos!

Santa Cruz Island runs the gamut of dry vegetation in the low areas to the lush tropical trees of the "Highlands" just minutes away by car. Our final tour was visiting the giant tortoises in their natural habitat on a farm with protected acreage, viewing volcano craters and walking through large lava tubes. Galapagos will not be forgotten!Last night our crew member, Randy, treated us to scenic drinks and a fabulous sushi dinner out. For a final toast afterwards, Laurie of Nexus asked us to join in with their crew Sheldon and Ness at the street food fair. Laurie's husband, Russ, was on Ghost helping with their instruments, but he was able to join us a little later. Also, saw Becky of Skyelark for a minute. What a great evening! Today was the start of Leg 3 to Hiva Oa in French Polynesia.. read more...


Flomaida II - Der Kleine wartet auf dem Kopf, ob der Große was von seiner Beute verliert
Flomaida II - Der Kleine wartet auf dem Kopf, ob der Große was von seiner Beute verliert
Flomaida II - Die scheinen ja genau zu wissen, in welchem Kübel etwas für sie ist!
Flomaida II - Die scheinen ja genau zu wissen, in welchem Kübel etwas für sie ist!
Flomaida II - Mmmhhh frittierte Bananen zum frischen Fisch
Flomaida II - Mmmhhh frittierte Bananen zum frischen Fisch
Flomaida II - Alex hilft beim Betanken der vielen Boote
Flomaida II - Alex hilft beim Betanken der vielen Boote
Flomaida II - Gut, dass es nicht unser Dinghi ist!
Flomaida II - Gut, dass es nicht unser Dinghi ist!
Flomaida II - Der sehr spezielle Fischmarkt in Santa Cruz
Flomaida II - Der sehr spezielle Fischmarkt in Santa Cruz
01/03/2014

Firefly - Preparations under way for our next ocean passage

Sadly we said farewell to Susie, Barney and Juanita this morning as they fly back to the UK (we hope the weather has improved) Susie will be back in 7 weeks and will resume her adventure in Tahiti. David has arrived and now P P and D are busy preparing Firefly for the passage across the Pacific Ocean to the Marquesas in French Polynesia; a trip of just under 3000 miles if we go direct, however passages are rarely that straight forward so we expect to cover well over this distance to make best use of the winds and current. We have refueled (quite an experience) and re-provisioned. As Peter writes this Paul and David are diving under the hull to clean weed off the bottom which will add to our speed and improve Firefly's appearance.Peter and David have just got back from separate cruises. read more...


Flomaida II - Leider hatte uns das Tankboot ein paar Schrammen verpasst, die natürlich gleich wieder entfernt wurden
Flomaida II - Leider hatte uns das Tankboot ein paar Schrammen verpasst, die natürlich gleich wieder entfernt wurden
Flomaida II - Essen an der "Fressmeile" mit Ko-Ko, Festina Lente und Tulasi
Flomaida II - Essen an der
Flomaida II - Vittorio von Festina Lente sieht aus wie ein Rauschgoldengel- ist aber ein wirklicher "Hilfsengel im Motorraum beim Ölwechsel"
Flomaida II - Vittorio von Festina Lente sieht  aus wie ein Rauschgoldengel- ist aber ein wirklicher
Flomaida II - Den haben wir nur kurz ausruhen lassen, da es sonst in Reinigungsstress ausartet!
Flomaida II - Den haben wir nur kurz ausruhen lassen, da es sonst in Reinigungsstress ausartet!
01/03/2014

American Spirit II - Day 56; Diving with White-Tipped Sharks & Eagle Rays; Friday, February 28, 2014

The day started early for me as Russ and Laurie from Nexus had invited me to go scuba diving with them. We met on the dock at 7:00 AM, and on the way to Iguana Scuba we walked by the fish market, where pelicans and two sea lions were gathered around a fisherman filleting fish, looking for scraps. It was actually pretty amazing. One sea lion in particular was favored by this fisherman as he kept flipping him scraps of fish. He was at the feet of the fisherman and looked like a dog would if seated under the dinner table looking for scraps. After meeting at the dive shop, we boarded 3 taxi's for the trip to Baltra and our dive boat. Ten persons were diving. Of the 10 divers, 7 were from the USA, 1 from Sweden, 1 from Canada and 1 from somewhere in Europe. We had 3 dive guides. We were. read more...


01/03/2014

American Spirit II - Day 55; Mike Settles in & Getting Ready for our Longest Leg; Thursday, February 27, 2014

The sailboat anchored behind us woke us up at 6:30 AM because they thought their bow anchor was under our boat. It wasn't, they pulled it up 10 feet from our transom. This sailboat was not part of our rally but was headed for the Marquesas, where we will be going in 3 days. We'll see them again. Since we were all up, I put the kettle on to boil some water for coffee, only to find out after 15 minutes that we had no propane. Apparently, someone (Joel) had turned off the propane the day before when he weighed the cylinder and filled a small 16 ounce gas cylinder with the larger propane tank, using a special valve I bought to do so. By being able to fill the small propane cylinders, we don't have to buy a zillion of them to cook on our transom rail mounted grill. There was a lot of. read more...


01/03/2014

American Spirit II - Day 54; Janet and Darlene Head for Home; Mike Mogavero Arrives; Wednesday, Febuary 26, 2014

Big day today. Darlene Heyne, Joel's wife, left us after being on the boat since January 4. During Darlene's 'stay' she sailed from Tampa to the Dry Tortugas; thru the gale; to Key West; around the western tip of Cuba; past Grand Cayman; thru the treacherous Nicaraguan Sand Banks;to the Sand Blas Islands; to Shelter Bay in Colon, Panama; thru the Panama Canal; to Panama City; to the Las Perlas Islands of Panama; and finally, to the Galapagos, where she visited San Cristobal, Santa Cruz and Isabella Island. With the Caribbean crossing (we think) being the most arduous of our entire trip around the world, Joel and I would have been hard pressed without her. Thank you Darlene! You will be missed. Janet Fox, my bride, also left us today, after being on the boat (or our 'cruise boat') since. read more...


Seaduced - A very English tradition while crossing the Equator
Seaduced - A very English tradition while crossing the Equator
Flomaida II - Auf dem Fischmarkt in Santa Cruz
Flomaida II - Auf dem Fischmarkt in Santa Cruz
27/02/2014

Celebrate - Smashing Rally Fleet Supper at II Giardino on Santa Cruz!

Starblazer started the evening by hosting us for Caipirinha cocktails at the open-air Rock Cafe Happy Hour before dinner.So gracious of them, we had a chance to get to know John and Joyce better on our Kicker Rock tour in San Cristobal.Their son from Hong Kong,Richard and his wife, Stephanie, are here in Galapagos for a few days.Very interesting and nice people!Then Brian and Lauren, a very nice young couple crewing on Dasha Way, joined us too for a very tasty three-course supper at the attractive tropical, two-story Italian II Giardino Restaurant. As we walked up the beautiful stairway to the second floor the World Rally greeters, Suzana and Alex, were there to send us in the right direction with smiles.During our dinner of a shrimp curry appetizer, a fresh fish in coconut sauce entree. read more...


Firefly - More Galapagos photos from Peter
Firefly - More Galapagos photos from Peter
Firefly - More Galapagos photos from Peter
Firefly - More Galapagos photos from Peter
Firefly - More Galapagos photos from Peter
Firefly - More Galapagos photos from Peter
Firefly - More Galapagos photos from Peter
Firefly - More Galapagos photos from Peter
Firefly - More Galapagos photos from Peter
Firefly - More Galapagos photos from Peter
Firefly - More Galapagos photos from Peter
Firefly - More Galapagos photos from Peter
Firefly - More Galapagos photos from Peter
Firefly - More Galapagos photos from Peter
Firefly - More Galapagos photos from Peter
Firefly - More Galapagos photos from Peter
Flomaida II - Was ist das???
Flomaida II - Was ist das???
26/02/2014

Starblazer - Galapagos update

Kicker Rock tour on Saturday was interesting but sadly not spectacular, the highlight was probably the Spotted Eagle Ray. On Sunday they saw hammerhead sharks! The guided walk to the first bay and the snorkelling were good, though, and our guide was very informative. Almost as soon as we got back to Puerto Baquerizo we set sail for our rendezvous point, 70 miles away. So many boats had failed the inspection that the price went down!By about midnight the wind increased a little and we sailed for the last five hours, passing within 6 metres of the waypoint. We were lucky and were in the first group to be scrubbed and made our way back to Isla San Cristobal to meet Richard and Stephanie, who had booked into an hotel for the night. Monday morning we were one of the boats that were rechecked. read more...


Firefly - Peter's photos from his Galapagos Cruise
Firefly - Peter's photos from his Galapagos Cruise
Firefly - Peter's photos from his Galapagos Cruise
Firefly - Peter's photos from his Galapagos Cruise
Firefly - Peter's photos from his Galapagos Cruise
Firefly - Peter's photos from his Galapagos Cruise
Firefly - Peter's photos from his Galapagos Cruise
Firefly - Peter's photos from his Galapagos Cruise
Firefly - Peter's photos from his Galapagos Cruise
Firefly - Peter's photos from his Galapagos Cruise
Firefly - Peter's photos from his Galapagos Cruise
Firefly - Peter's photos from his Galapagos Cruise
Firefly - Peter's photos from his Galapagos Cruise
Firefly - Peter's photos from his Galapagos Cruise
Firefly - Peter's photos from his Galapagos Cruise
Firefly - Peter's photos from his Galapagos Cruise
Firefly - Peter's photos from his Galapagos Cruise
Firefly - Peter's photos from his Galapagos Cruise
Firefly - Peter's photos from his Galapagos Cruise
Firefly - Peter's photos from his Galapagos Cruise
Firefly - Peter's photos from his Galapagos Cruise
Firefly - Peter's photos from his Galapagos Cruise
Firefly - Peter's photos from his Galapagos Cruise
Firefly - Peter's photos from his Galapagos Cruise
25/02/2014

American Spirit II - Day 53; Charles Darwin Breeding Center & Summary of M/V Fragata 5 Day, 4 Night Cruise; Tuesday, February 25, 2014

At 8:00 AM we met our guide on the public dock and walked to the Charles Darwin Breeding Center. Once there we observed giant Tortoises and Land Iguana's; and the home of 'Lonesome George' before he died. George was the last of his species from Pita Island. In the course of our 5 day, 4 night trip we visited 7 different islands: Baltra Island; Mosquera Island; Vincente Roca Point on Isabella Island; Espinoza Point on Fernandina Island; Urbina Bay on Isabella Island; Tagus Cove on Isabella Island; Egas Port on Santiago Island; Sombrero Chino Island; and finished at Santa Cruz Island, where our boats are anchored. The highlights of the cruise include swimming with: Sea Lions, Green Turtles, Penguins, a Manta Ray, Flightless Cormorants, Marine Iguana's, Sting Rays and White-Tipped Sharks.. read more...


25/02/2014

American Spirit II - Day 52; Swimming with White Tipped Sharks & Marine Iguana; Monday, February 24, 2014

Today was our earliest day yet on the M/V Fragata, with breakfast at 6:00 AM. The first activity of the day was a hike from 7:00 AM to 8:30 AM at Egas Port on Santiago Island; where we walked along a lava encrusted shoreline. Along the way we saw Fur Sea Lions, Sea Lions, Marine Iguana's, various species of birds and as always, Sally Lightfoot Crabs.These crabs are on all the islands in the Galapagos and the adults are bright red and turquoise in color, and the juveniles are black (to help them blend in with the lava rock).You've probably seen them as 'giant creatures' in old Japanese science fiction films. The adults are 4 inches in width. We then weighed anchor and proceed to Sombrero Chino Island, where we started a hike at 1:00 PM and observed a small lava tunnel. The anchorage we. read more...


25/02/2014

American Spirit II - Day 51; Giant Tortoises; Land Inguanas; & Swimming with Flightless Cormorants

Our first event of the day was a hike at Urbina Bay on Isabella Island. Located at the foot of Alcedo volcano. We were transported to the island on the panga's from the M/V Fragata. It was a 'wet landing', meaning that we had to exit the dingy in the surf. We did so on to a steep, volcanic, black sandy beach. Upon exiting the dinghies, we observed an area of green turtle nesting mounds, which was off limits to us. Upon walking on a trail on the island, we came upon the skull of a male sea lion. You could tell it was a male because of the bony ridge at the top of the skull. We then observed a giant tortoise walking down a trail. He stopped and retracted his head and legs once he became aware of our presence. After we left, he continued walking down the trail, hoisting his body 8 inches. read more...


25/02/2014

American Spirit II - Day 50; Swimming with Sea Turtles & Penguins; Saturday, February 22, 2014

I woke up at 4:00 AM and headed down to the aft section of the main deck, where the restaurant is, to type up Day 49's log. At 5:59 AM we reached our destination and dropped anchor. We were anchored in front of a giant L-shaped cliff face called Vicente Roca Point, part of Isabella Island. Breakfast was at 7:00 AM and consisted of ham, toast, fruit and yogurt. We took a ride in the panga's (dinghies)to look, primarily, at the birds on the cliff face. We saw Frigates, Blue Footed Boobies,Brown Pelicans, Galapagos Penguins and Flightless Cormorants. The Frigate bird, also called the 'man of war bird' because of its piratical nature,is unusual in that the female is larger than the male. Its 'piratical nature' has to do with its method of catching fish. Besides scooping fish off of the. read more...


25/02/2014

American Spirit II - Day 49; Swimming with Sea Lions & 5 Day M/V Fragata Cruise; Friday, February 21, 2014

I apologize for not getting this log and the 4 following it to you sooner. The reason for the delay is that for 5 days were have been nowhere near Wifi or the internet to send these logs. The day started early. Janet and I were starting a 5 day cruise aboard the M/V Fragata. More on that later.We got up at 6:30 AM because we had to meet at the public dock at 7:30 AM for the start of our process of getting to our cruise vessel located at Baltra Island. After boarding a bus, along with crew from Nexus, Hebe and Polaris (other boats in our Rally); we departed for the northern part of Santa Cruz Island. We arrived at a ferry crossing 45 minutes later, whereupon our luggage was transferred to the ferry. After boarding the ferry, we waited for it to 'fill up.' The stated passenger limit of. read more...


25/02/2014

Firefly - Firefly on Isabela 25/02

Firefly has been anchored at Puerto Vilamil, Isabela for 6 nights. We have been unable to move anywhere else as explained in earlier blogs, however, the anchorage was so beautiful it was a great place to be based for numerous shore based excursions. The highlight for the crew was a 'special' day trip by Panga (fast motor boat with a small cabin) to the west of the island. Local tour organiser, Paco, had come up with this new tour to satisfy the yachting folk that visit Isabela - the reason being that generally they want to and are prepared to go on longer trips, despite the discomfort of the small fast boats.We ventured into real 'David Attenborough' territory with our guide telling us that very few tourists ever get to see this particular area. To the west of the island there is the. read more...



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