About Us

Welcome to our blog, describing our voyage aboard Bravo, a Kelly Peterson 46 sailboat with homeport in Seattle, Washington. We headed south in 2010, destined for Mexico and beyond. Cheers, Adam and Cindi


"As for me, I am tormented by an everlasting itch for things remote. I love to sail forbidden seas, and land on barbarous coasts." -Herman Melville, 1844


Saturday, March 30, 2013

Voyage to Marquesas - Days 8 / 9 - Gotta love those tradewinds!

The great sailing continues. And it really is amazing how consistent the south east trade winds have been, at a steady speed of 17-22 knots, day and night. The swells vary, ranging from around 3-10 feet. Our last 4 days runs, noon to noon, have been 158, 162, 161, and 165 miles. And we've left the squalls behind us, at least for now.

We check into radio nets 3 or 4 times daily. One net is made up of 12-14 other boats sailing Galapagos to French Polynesia. We know several personally from our stay in the islands. Another net is the Pacific Puddlejump Net, mostly boats sailing from Mexico to F.P. And finally there's the Pacific Seafarers Net. This is the one that posts our daily position online. In the last blog post, I suggested that you could find this net via Google. Well, thanks to our buddy Chuck on s/v Jacaranda, here is the web address: http://www.pangolin.co.nz/xtras/pacseanet/pacseanet.php
Remember to search for the radio callsign K7ST to see our positions.

Fish report: The flying fish suicide march continues unabated. Good tip from Ian on s/v Chaotic Harmony is to freeze them and use as bait for dorado. Yup, our collection has begun! Caught a baby dorado today, just about 18", and let her go to make more dorados...hopefully a bigger one will be aboard before too long!

Thats all for now. The numbers: 1154 mi sailed so far, 1904 to go.....over 1/3 of the way there!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Voyage to Marquesas - Days 6 / 7 - Great sailing

We've been rolling right along in the tradewinds. Our repairs have held well, including the epoxy job on the batten car, so we're able to fly a full main or reef when needed. And the great news is that, KNOCK ON WOOD, we haven't broken anything more in the past 2 days!!

We've been getting into the rhythm of the passage...radio nets with other boats on passage morning and evening, downloading weather forecast GRIB files, night watches, daytime naps, cooking, reading, and, of course fixing things! Oh, right, Cindi has been hitting the French books...now knows her numbers, and working on greetings. Adam, well, not so much.....

As far as the fish report goes....still rather bleak. Especially since we haven't yet yearned for a flying fish breakfast. Cindi calls the port (upwind) deck "suicide alley". Every night we get anywhere from 6-20 flyers, ranging from 1-8 inches, deciding to fly aboard during the night. We think Darwin dealt them a pretty raw deal!

The numbers? 2 days ago, 158 miles, yesterday 162. 2,262 miles to go, as of noon today (3/27)

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Voyage to Marquesas - Day 5 - Lumpy and Bumpy!

But actually pretty great sailing...

We're in the trade winds, with a steady 15-20 knots of breeze, though we get squalls packing 30 knot gusts now and then.

Today's damage report is in...during a squall, while tucking in a reef, we damaged a batten car, a fancy slide for the mainsail on the mast. It pulled a screw out of it's UHMW plastic fitting. Not a huge deal, since its on the bottom batten, so by going to our #2 reef, it's the damaged car is not taking any load. We buttered it up w/ JB Weld epoxy (Glen, you listening?) and after setting up tonight, hopefully we'll be right as rain to set more sail in the morning. Even so, with the #2 reef we still have boat speed of 6.5-7.5 knots, heading straight for the Marquesas...not bad at all.

Still no fish on the line, actually today we've pulled out the lines since the sea is so lumpy, with a 3 meter confused swell, that we wouldn't want to be cleaning a fish on the slippery aft deck even if we hooked up.

But all's well aboard, as we logged 147 miles yesterday, our first full day under sail.

Oh, if folks want to monitor our progress, we check in to the Pacific Seafarers Net (ham radio) every evening. They post our position on line. I can't recall the website, but if you google Pangolin, and Yotreps, you should find the info. Look for K7ST, Adam's ham callsign, and you should find our position reports.

2554 miles to go, as of 5pm.

Cheers!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Voyage to Marquesas - Days 2/3 - Demolition Derby Continues!

We've finally reached the trade winds! Today has been our 1st full day of absolutely beautiful sailing...the stuff of the brochures!!! About 18-22 kn wind, at an angle of 110 deg. Sunshine, nice rolling swell!!! May it continue!

Unfortunately, our equipment breakages have not abated. Last night we chafed through the #1 reef line. This has now been repaired. We also broke our mainsail halyard. It chafed through the outer braid where it is held by the rope jammer, exposing the spectra core. We have 2 mainsail halyards from the mast head, so we're now using the 2nd one. But of course, we now have no spare for the halyard, a $200 chunk of rope. And then there are the 2 fittings, the boom winch and reef turning block which tore out of the boom on day 1. I think that possibly when I rebuilt the mast and boom, I may have damaged threads while getting things apart with an air impact gun. Now, 4 years later, I'm paying the price. Amazing that it waited until day one of our longest passage to fail, after all of our sailing down from Seattle. I've jury rigged a new #1 reef lead block, and think it will work ok for now. As far as the head breaking...it is really broken, something rattles around in the pump. Happily we have 2 heads aboard, so now use the aft one, which used to be the equipment garage.

In spite of all this, our spirits are high, and we're thrilled to be out on the ocean again. Haven't seen another boat since we left, but have had large schools of flying fish go by. and a happy pod of dolphins. Cindi saw a large whale, not sure of the type, breach last night on her watch. Unfortunately we've got no fish on the line to report (yet!!).

Day 2, 118 miles
Day 3, 120 miles

Now, Sunday afternoon, 2708 miles to go!
Cheers,
A&C

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Voyage to Marquesas - Day 1 - UNDERWAY AT LAST

Well,we finally escaped the Galapagos' iron fisted but enchanting grip on us...Bravo is at sea once again!!! Felt terrific to finally be underway on this leg of our travels that we've looked forward to for so long. Though the forecast remained a bit grim as far as a lack of wind for the first 3-400 miles until we reach the SE trade winds which hopefully will carry us the rest of the 3000 mile voyage to French Polynesia, 3-4 weeks away.

As always it was a scurry to depart...last minute provisioning runs, final clear out with the port captain, and visits with buddies in the anchorage. Also the discovery the day before departure of a leak in the raw (sea) water pump on our diesel generator. We had a spare pump, but it was plumbed differently. A full day of Rube Goldberg fabrications made of spare hoses and hardware bits had it licked, and pumping cooling water nicely.

We weighed anchor just after noon yesterday, amidst conch shells and air horns blaring on boats of friends anchored around us....a nice sendoff. All of them will be leaving for Polynesia in the days ahead. The weather was a mixed bag, providing teasing bits of wind for us to sail on, only to die and be motoring again. But it was per the forecast, so not unexpected.

While putting in a reef in the mainsail to keep it from flogging so badly in the calm swell, we noticed a couple of bad things...possibly quite bad, actually. On our #1 main sail reef, the reef line turns around a turning pulley near the base of the mast. The bolts holding it in place had started stripping out of the aluminum mast. Not good at all. It's crucial that we be able to reef easily, and this block is part of the system. There's no really good way to repair the stripped bolt holes now, but we've jury rigged a second block which will likely work ok. We'll see.

We also noticed that a winch on the boom for the #2 reef appears to be pulling off as well!!! WTF??? Not sure what's going on here. That one will be tougher to jury rig. We're working on it today, and will see what we come up with.

And finally, since bummers seem to come in 3's, our head (toilet) broke today!!! This one is a real bummer. Looks like Adam will be up to his eyeballs in the icky stuff tomorrow!!!

But hey, it's a sunny day on the blue Pacific Ocean, we made 140 miles the first day. Still motoring, but we hope to reach the tradewinds tomorrow afternoon, if the forecast models are correct. 140 miles the first 24 hours, only 2,840 to go!!!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Dog days in the Galapagos

Well, the doldrums have hit us here in the Galaps.....we've been here for about two months now, and are itchy to get sailing for French Polynesia.  Only problem is the wind.....ain't none!  All of our online weather prediction models show a vast greasy spot from here to about 400 miles south of here....that's a long way to motor to find the breeze.  But wind or no wind, we plan on heading out by the end of this week.  Lot's of projects to cross off the list yet, but we're making good progress.

Sea lions guard our dinghy...thanks, ladies!
So, what have we been up to lately?  Well, it's been a while since the last post, so we've got a bit of ground to cover!  Hang on, we'll be all over the board with this post!!!












Isla Isabella Fiesta.  

Celebrating 40 years of the incorporation of the island (where we are still at anchor).  Great fun, pretty much the whole island turns out.  A rodeo, dances, horse racing through town, bike races, a marathon....all Galapagos style.  Ya gotta love it!!

Poor kid in the blue shirt got a plastic spoon....We called FOUL but nobody listened!!!

#3 doing a bit of sky watching!

The big boys came out to play!


 
After the games, it was time for the bucking broncos.  Most only stayed on for 1-2 seconds....Saw a few w/ arms in slings afterward!  Ouchh.....Your faithful Bravo crew wasn't even tempted!!!














Guy on the right must've borrowed big brother's bike!!!
The next day it was time for the races...marathon, bikes, and horses.  5 guys on mixed breed steeds for the bike road race, and a few kids doing some laps of the town plaza for the kids race.  "Ya run what ya brung" as the saying goes.  Definitely an unusual race, but a fun one. 








The grand finale was the horse races.  Horse racing, Galapagos style, is a wild and wooly event, right down the main street of town...dogs in the road, no helmets (of course!), cheering fans crowding into the street.  Macho caballeros strutting their stuff.  Great fun (except for the poor dog that got killed running under the thundering hooves).  Wow!


Lots of pre race machismo and trash talkin'







Gloating in the winners circle



Provisioning for the passage to French Polynesia...

Here on Isla Isabela it can be a bit of a struggle to get Bravo stocked up for the coming 3-4 week passage.  Stores are very small, and supplies vary depending on when the ship arrives.  We've enjoyed making weekly runs to a local farm, where farmer Silvio walks us around and points with his machete at whatever is freshest.....You want eggplant, tomatos, onions, peppers, papaya, cantaloupe, pineapples???  How about basil or cilantro?  This guy's got 'em.  And it doesn't get much fresher.  You just have no clue what he'll have till you arrive.  Typical tab is $10-15 for a mountain of freshies...  Always a fun trip.  


Nicole from Bella Star keeps her eyes on the prize of a tasty papaya.

Silvio hacks loose a pineapple.....never tasted sweeter.....


 Getting our propane tanks filled here has been a bit of an adventure as well.  There is no central tank here on the island.  Everyone uses standard tanks which come in by freighter....when empty, you simply exchange for another.  Of course, these tanks don't fit our boats....thus we need to buy one of the tanks and fill our own via gravity, and some jury rigged hose and fittings.  Kids, don't try this at home, but it worked great!!!
















CQ Contest.....CQ Contest.....CQ Contest




You can take the sailor out of the geek, but its tough to take the geek out of the sailor.  Most of you know that Adam (K7ST) is a geek at heart, and a long time ham radio afficionado.   A couple of weeks ago was the annual ARRL DX Contest, where U.S. hams try to speak to as many hams in as many countries as possible in 48 hours.  As Adam had received permission to operate in Ecuador, he figured, "why not put Galapagos, a part of Ecuador, on the air for the test?"  Setting up a small portable vertical antenna on the beach was a snap, and K7ST/HC8 (portable Galapagos) was on the air.  I was the rarest of rare countries, as I was the only station active in the contest from this country (Galapagos counts as a separate country for contest scores).  Great fun indeed, as huge pileups of hams were furiously calling for a contact.  I managed to work about 1500 for the weekend for a very part time effort.  Much different experience from contesting in the US.....Yee hah, I was hooked!!!




 
K7ST/HC8 station, iguana's eye view!

 

 

 

Time to head to sea!

The building cruiser bolus!
 As you may recall, when we arrived on Isla Isabella nearly two months ago, we were the only cruising sailboat here on the island, and one of only 2 or 3 in the entire Galapagos archipelago.  And it remained that way for the next 2-3 weeks.  It was a pretty sweet time around here.....we got to know many of the locals, as we were a bit of a novelty.  Welll.........the novelty has worn off!  The Galapagos is a major point of departure of boats for the South Pacific, and this is the time when they start the journey.  The anchorage here has been steadily filling up with boats, and we now have nearly 20.  All are friendly, and all share our anticipation of the 3000 mile voyage ahead.   Lots of projects going on, people up their masts for rigging inspections, tanks being topped off.  The excitement builds daily as we wait for the wind.  But it's a very different vibe with so many cruisers descending on a tiny island.  Stores are selling out of provisions, the authorities are getting cranky.  It's time to leave the bolus behind us!!!  Hopefully we'll leave on Wednesday or Thursday.  So, with luck, our next blog post will be while underway!

For us, preparing to leave Latin America is indeed bitter sweet.  We are very excited to be getting underway on our longest passage yet, bound for what by all accounts is truly a tropical paradise...French Polynesia.  But we've had an extraordinary 2-1/2 years here in Central and South America, exploring the various countries and cultures, and making many good friends along the way.  As our Spanish improved, we've enjoyed getting to know some really wonderful folks, from Mexico to Patagonia, and participate in their lives in ways we had never done on our brief vacation visits in past years.  We'll miss the warmth and hospitality of these people, and eagerly look forward to our return in the future.  We know we'll be back.



Now its time to break out Rosetta Stone, and learn a bit of French before our next landfall!!!