Saturday, October 29, 2011


Panama City
Wednesday afternoon we left the skyscrapers of Panama City behind us. We avoided the big cargo ships laying waiting for the Panama Canal, and headed for the open sea. It wasn`t going to be an easy sail. Maybe the sea gods read my previous blog, about beating, and they thought maybe I was in need of a little bit more experience, so that is exactly what we got! A lot more! Nine days beating, 1184nm with an average of 130nm per day. But it felt much more. The 800nm to Galapagos increased to 1184nm with the wind up to 20knots on the nose. We did not find any doldrums !!! Andando is a star and with all the beating and heavy wind sailing we are defnitely not sailing the same Andando as the previous crew. But more about that later....

The first day started with two meter swells only 6 seconds apart, washing over Andando`s bow. With the apparent wind meter going up to 25 knots on the nose and a leeway of 40 degrees our Skipper decided to change course and run for shelter the first night at Iles Las Perlas! In the beam of the torch light hundreds of silver fish slithered out of the water running on their tails. What beauty in these islands! We`ll definitely be back! We dropped anchor at Las Coco Island the next day to inspect the sail drive and to fix the reef line stuck somewhere, while the boys went for a stroll with some locals, and we bought a bunch of bananas and fresh oysters for lunch.

We left for Galapagos, but we knew our sail directions still don`t look good! Out of the blue a big grey ship came up behind us.

Warship 46 (American) radioed us with a lot of interrogating questions and we were scrambling around for the documents. When night fell we were still chaperoned by them, feeling safe off the Colombian coast. Just after 9 o`clock the next morning we were boarded by a Coast Guard Team, in their full black kit!

Marco loved every minute with real `SWAT`s` aboard, but I wasn`t impressed with their big freshly polished boots on a very white Andando! I politely asked them to wrap their boots in my perfumed lilac plastic bags.

 That really humored the people on the Mother ship. They spend the whole day aboard, and what started as an inspection for the sea worthiness of the vessel, and the inspection of the safety equipment, ended up in them measuring every corner of Andando.I was very patient but after a while making beds and lifting up cushions for them to inspect the water tanks and fuel tanks…I had enough! What were they really looking for? No one checked our flares or our life raft or our life jackets…

We lost a whole day and were battling forward. Marco is doing Maths and caught a beautiful wahoo, and is counting the days to his birthday!

Joe is meditating watching the sun go down every night, reading and eating! Our Skipper, looking forward to the end of this nightmare trip to Galapagos! Me…I am not beaten…yet!

We motored into Galapagos last night around 02h00 in desperate need for a good night sleep! We anchored at Wreck Bay, among loads of big touristy boats and only one mono hull which sailed from Marquesas, on their way to Panama! Boy, do we need to chat with them.

Ps. Just an update on the Yanmar Sail Drive saga. After a`very `long email to Yanmar in America, we received an email the very next day via our SAT phone. They apologise for the misunderstanding and they will replace the complete sail drive asap!

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