We’ve completed our approximately 890 mile passage between Las Perlas Islands, Panama, and Galapagos Islands, Ecuador, crossing the Equator on our way. Many people think the equator is an imaginary line that wraps the belly of the earth and separates the northern hemisphere from the southern. Of course, many people think that NASA faked the Moon landings. Others think the equator is a raised bump, a little like a speed bump, that wraps the waters of the earth. They are all wrong. It is actually a small dip in the waters, as you can see in this photo. The dip is small enough that you hardly notice it when you sail over it.
I know this photo is a little racy for this family blog, but I wanted to show how important it was to prepare properly for the Equator Crossing ceremony. Here I am showering in the cockpit for the occasion. Plus, Chris likes to memorialize the rare times that I shower.
Pouring King Neptune's shot of rum over the side of the boat. This is the payment required to pass the Equator. Lots of bad kharma can accrue if you attempt to run across the Equator without paying the toll.
A passenger: a Red-footed Booby, with his blue beak, bouncing along on our bow as we sail along, about 125 miles off the Galapagos.
We made a stop offshore to check and clean the boat’s bottom. The middle of the ocean is not my favorite place for bottom cleaning– kinda rolly and the home of great whites. Before we left the Perlas islands in Panama I did 3 one hour hookah dives to clean the boat bottom. So it was just about as clean as she gets when we left Panama. The Galapagos park officials actually bring a diver with them to the boat upon entry to inspect and GoPro video the bottom. If you fail the bottom smell test, then you can be sent back out, 74 km offshore, to have the bottom cleaned professionally. So, as we approached San Cristobol island, eastern most island of the chain, I jumped in to re-check the bottom to make sure it was clean after our 6-day passage. Much to my amazement, it was covered about 20% on the starboard side and 10% on the port side with a dark green slime. How this stuff grows on a boat bottom that is constantly moving is beyond me. Maybe we painted the bottom in September with fertilizer paint instead of anti-fouling paint. It took a 40 minute dive and second 30 minute dive to get the green off all the way to the bottom of the keel.
Our first Galapagos landmark: Kicker Rock, a famous dive site. Known locally as Leon Dormido, or Sleeping Lion, seen as we cruise along San Cristobol island, approaching Port Baquerizo Moreano, our first stop. San Cristobol was also Darwin’s first stop.
As soon as you tie up on one of the yellow mooring cans in the port’s harbor, you are assigned a set of sea lions. They’re very friendly and like to come by to visit. This is one of the assigned younger sea lions being very lazy on our swim step. He could care less that I just leaned over him and took his picture. Late last night Chris was woken up by a loud ‘sneeze’. I went to the companionway to investigate and there was a very large sea lion napping on the cockpit seat cushion with his head about a foot from the companionway! This one spoke English and when I yelled at him to get off he slowly looked up at me and then slithered under the pulpit and launched himself back into the water.
We’re now trying to devise ways to limit their entry into the cockpit and later on today we plan to go into the small town and look in the stores for some Seal-Be-Gone spray for the cockpit.