Preparation, Preparation, Preparation

Like locations in business, preparation in cruising is of paramount importance.  And we’ve been preparing for too long. Or so it seems.

We are in Isabella, Galapagos and ready to head to the Marqueses, a tad shy of 3,000 nm . Remember a nautical mile is greater than a mile and much greater than a kilometer.

The final count down actually starts a couple of days before the anchor rises. We begin stowing things in places they won’t decide to go on walkabouts. We notify our agent of when we plan on leaving to begin the paperwork process and we complete last minute provisioning and to clean the bottom.

W/ went with 3 other boats to the “farm” where one can purchase fresh produce. She arrived back with melons, bananas, pineapples, oranges, limes and a few other things I can’t remember. Stowing some of the items like the melons just isn’t really possible so we wedged them in under the table hoping they would stay.  We don’t have large secure spaces for melons and we planned on eating them soon.

While W/ went to the farm I hired 3 kids from Amphitreetes to clean our bottom. They did an excellent job but while near the end the Park personnel  stopped by and said  I couldn’t do that, I needed to go 40 nm offshore to clean the bottom. We stopped… for a bit.  While mostly we’re rule followers this one I couldn’t abide by.  The port captain’s boat bottom was cleaned in the harbor just the day before. Every boat that has left this anchorage has been in the water cleaning their bottom and in San Cristobal we cleaned the bottoms.  All this was after being checked for a clean bottom coming into the Galapagos.  I understand they don’t want foreign organisms invading their shores but as we arrived with a clean bottom everything on the bottom was of Galapagos origins.  And to add insult to injury while we were touring the Darwin Center in Santa Cruz there were some Darwin employees cleaning the science center boats with …. Bleach.  Bleach is one of the most hazardous materials in a saltwater environ.  So I’m sad to say …. the guys finished cleaning the bottom.  IMHO what is good for the Goose is good for the Gander!

With those tasks completed our agent informed us we needed to take our paperwork to the port captain’s office for our outbound clearance. Mostly Latin countries are the ones requiring outbound clearances so after lunch at a local restaurant I wondered over to the port captains office for our “zarpe”. I find humor in so many things and here during our hour wait to complete the outbound clearance the Port Captain  wanted our exact time of leaving; I said 6 am not wanting him to say “come back tomorrow” if I would have said noon.  Then he wanted our time of arrival in the Marqueses as if we had a jet and could time it to the nearest hour. He’ll we’ll be lucky to time it to the nearest week!  One would think that mariners would understand the vagaries of weather and breakdowns on a boat but not here…so I just gave him a whatever date 20 days out is.  Besides, the French don’t give a hoot about any outbound papers any other country gives you. Most countries don’t require a zarpe and I’m not fully sure why zarpe’s still exist other then “because we’ve always done it that way”, which is one of my pet peeves.

With Zarpe in hand we returned to the boat for final preparations.  There we spent the following time moving items, stowing items readying items in the boat for the passage. We pulled out our Reacher and left it in the forward head ready to deploy, I shut the seacocks in the head because we don’t use that area off shore, we made up our sea berths with our new lee cloths, pulled the ladder and tied it down, pulled the fenders and secured them on the back rail, pulled one solar panel, removed the aft cowls for the vents, readied the wind vane, tied gear down on the deck and the most difficult task, raise the dinghy, deflate it, cover it and secure it. The dinghy alone requires about two hours to  completely stow it. But, we do take short breaks, after all this work. 🙂

Dinghy Loaded

Dinghy Loaded

As we have now transferred the dinghy to the deck we see the Port Captain out cruising the harbor taking notes.  The week before when the island was in the throws of a fuel shortage we never once saw him cruise around.  The Galapagos has to be one of the few places that Latin time does not fully exist. One boat was in the anchorage 2 days beyond their said departure date and the Port Captain visited the boat and restricted them to the boat.  No other country we’ve visited has been nearly that anal about time of departure even though all seem to want an exact time on any paper work. l guess it is just that there is an area on the form for “time of departure”  so like any good drones that space must be filled in.

Fortunately we were close to pulling our anchor  and planned on leaving soon anyway. Nothing was said but I did see in the Port Captains office on a white board the list of all the boats in the harbor and symbols I’m assuming of having cleared in and out.

We continued on with our preps, said goodbyes to the other cruisers in the harbor, pulled anchor and left.  Now some might think that the preparation is finished at this point. Not so. There are always things one has missed. an errant piece of fruit decides to take a walkabout, lines need to be rearranged, watch schedules decided on, meals organized.  Much of this can be done before you go  but Rosan Rosanadanna from SNL said “There is always something…” and she’s right.

Too we need to get used to a new boat motion. Rather then the gentle rock of a boat at anchor we’re moving erratically in 3 dimensions. I was climbing up the companionway once and went to push off for the next step, the boat immediately moved down as well as forward

3,000 nm to Go

3,000 nm to Go

and I never even had to push. It was like I magically was lifted up to the next step. Then the boat rose with the new wave and I was suddenly on Jupiter where my body weight had doubled. Hang on or you become a living pinball in a wooden box with a table, sink island and cabinetry to bounce off of.  Walking without help I looked like a drunk sailor after a good night on the town. And there were times I tried to. Even moving 2 meters I would find the immediate need to lean on something or sit down.

Go Slow
Sail Far
Stay Long


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