Shepherd Moon - Stowaways
In the early hours of this morning we finally arrived in the Galapagos and now we are leaving them again. Despite having Shepherd Moon lifted out of the water in Shelter Bay and pressure washed, and then checked again while we were in Las Perlas (albeit through murky green waters) we have acquired a few baby barnacles during our 1,000 mile transit from Las Perlas to the Galapagos. I had meant to check the bottom before we arrived, but the last couple of days haven't played out in the quite the way we expected. The net result is that the barnacle police have told us (and the other two boats they checked today) to go 40 miles offshore to clean off the offending crustaceans, and then return to the anchorage for a further inspection. Oh well, it's a nice day for a sail.The trip down to the. read more...
Shepherd Moon - Booby prize
In this series of blogs we have tried to give a taste of the ups and downs of life at sea, and have hopefully induced the odd smile. Sadly today's blog is very much focused on the down side of life, and the sense of hopelessness you feel when so far away from family.As most of you know, my mum developed Alzheimer's about 10 years ago and has been steadily going downhill. It is such a terrible disease, eating away at the very kernel of what makes a person who they are, until, in the end, all that is left is a dry husk. My mum was at that stage. When we visited her at Christmas she was healthy and happy, but had no idea who we were. Yesterday afternoon we received one of those emails you dread receiving at sea. It said my mum had had a stroke overnight and was in a coma. Two hours later we. read more...
Shepherd Moon - Life, the universe, and everything
After leaving Panama City, we sailed 40 odd miles south to the Las Perlas islands. In some ways these resemble the coast of Brittany, but without any people. On our second night there we anchored in a small bay, which could only be reached by following a zig-zag path through the rocky shallows. Sitting in the cockpit you could gaze across the water to other islands and other secluded bays, but despite the proximity to the mainland, there were no other boats to be seen, just lots and lots of pelicans. We were joined that evening by another World ARC boat, but by that time the sun was setting and so it didn't really matter.If the water had been clear, it would have been perfect, but a plankton bloom meant it was a murky green. This was a shame because the abundance of rays that kept. read more...
Shepherd Moon - Noah's Ark
Whilst we were in Shelter Bay (the Caribbean side of Panama) we had the boat fumigated. Surprisingly, this was not necessitated by having Jacob on board for an extended period of time, instead it is a requirement for all boats visiting the Galapagos Islands. Likewise, you have to make sure your bottom is squeaky clean (that's the boat's bottom, not the individual crew members', or at least I hope that's what they mean). Both stipulations are designed to protect the islands from invasive species and are noble in principle, but the timing of the fumigation seemed a bit premature. Invasive beasties will have had three weeks to re-colonise the boat, and they seem to have embraced that opportunity.The first arrival turned up in Jacob's shower. He had been complaining that his bathroom smelt a. read more...
Shepherd Moon - Sloths in the city
After the weeks of coral seas and remote marinas it is quite a shock to arrive in Panama City with its high-rise buildings, giant shopping malls and traffic jams. It provided a great opportunity to re-stock the food cupboards, and for Vanessa to get a much needed haircut (during which I was entertained by the campest straight man I have ever met, who made me coffee and talked a lot about wine). We even had to time to go out for a couple of fabulous, tapas-style, meals in the old town.The wealth of the city is obvious for all to see, not least in the marina, which was chock-a-block with large, sport-fishing, motorboats, with not a sailing yacht to be seen. You would think that with all this money the facilities would be amazing, but despite charging Solent-type prices for berths, there. read more...