A PERIPATETIC JOURNEY
not all who wander are lost
By the end of February 2018, our work in Panama City was done and we were ready to escape from the urban hustle-bustle. We cleared out of Panama, dropped our mooring at the Balboa Yacht Club and motored over to the La Playita anchorage. Early the next morning, we left for the Islas Perlas with our good friends on Blue Zulu. There we explored the sparsely populated island group, prepared for our upcoming passage to the Galapagos, and took advantage of the clear, clean water to thoroughly clean our hulls - a requirement for entry into the Galapagos.
We spent a few lovely days in the Perlas with Anna, Patrick, Lot, Stella, and Fin from Blue Zulu while waiting for our weather window for the 5-day sail to the Galapagos. On March 2, we saw that conditions looked favorable for departure early the next morning. Counting Stars and Blue Zulu chose a sheltered anchorage on the western side of the island group and began preparing the boats for the open ocean. All gear on deck was either secured or brought inside. Items in the galley, saloon, and bedrooms were stowed. We pulled out the foul weather gear (just in case - bad weather was not forecast) and made sure the seasickness meds were readily accessible. Kendall baked bread and cooked pasta while Brian took care of pre-departure engine maintenance and rigging inspection. The passage from Las Perlas to the Galapagos would be our longest so far.
Early on the morning of March 3, 2018, we set off for the Galapagos with Blue Zulu. The passage was mostly uneventful, although the first night at sea was a bit squally, and we had favorable winds and made good time.
The sunsets and sunrises were awe-inspiring on this passage. Below are a few of our favorites. It is very interesting how the camera lens always seems to flatten the seas as we experienced some good-sized waves on this trip!
We did have a few exciting wildlife encounters. One afternoon, we spotted something large swimming toward us from the southwest. As it came closer, we realized 'it' was actually three large orcas. We called the kids and scrambled for a camera. Watching these majestic creatures swim past our stern was a thrilling experience!
As we neared the Galapagos, we were visited by red-footed boobies. Of the three species of boobies native to the Galapagos (Nazca booby, blue-footed booby, red-footed booby), the red-footed boobies are the most wide-ranging, flying far out to sea to feed. They often bum rides on incoming boats, catch the flying fish startled by the boat, and leave their messy calling cards on the deck. We had up to three of them visiting at a time, perched on the bow pulpit, screeching and squawking at each other. They weren't easily frightened and we were able to come quite close to take photos.
On the morning of March 8, we spotted land for the first time in over five days. It was thrilling to be approaching the legendary Galapagos Islands - a place that we'd seen in so many nature documentaries!
By afternoon, we were safely anchored in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno at the island of San Cristobal. It would be the first of three islands we'd visit while in the Galapagos. Already in port were our friends on the catamaran, Higgins, who we'd first met in Shelter Bay. A few hours later, Blue Zulu arrived at the anchorage. We had arrived too late to clear in, so we tidied up and prepared for the officials to arrive the next morning. We were ready for some rest after the long passage and went to bed early. Little did we know that it would not be a restful night for some of us...
McGlynn family 5 (Isla, Marin, Eoin, Kendall, and Brian) sailing Counting Stars