There's are cards in the post......
News since Panama, that's where the article I wrote for the Gybe sheet came from.
Well we left Panama with 6 people on board, 2 English 2 Swedish 1 Assize and a yank. We then sailed to Galapagos, or tried too. Well the wind was light and the current was against us.... And the Engine died. More precisely the greasers on the prop shaft failed and the added friction on the prop shaft caused the clutch to slip.
So it took 23 days to get there, we spent a week and a half floating backwards and forwards in amongst the islands... We had exactly the same view for 3 days. Abba the cat, a stray kitten we acquired very young in Panama, didn't seem to mind and Me and Börje had a crate of litter bottles of "Ron Cortez" some appalling (but 40%) Panamanian swill. In an attempt to make the boat go faster we heroically drank the lot and 3 crates of beer.
The equator runs amongst the Islands of the Galapagos, as we passed it the Bottle of Ron Magellan given too us by a customs agent and mechanic in Columbia for just this purpose, Neptune then Rose from the depths of the Engine room (presumably he got in through the leaky cooling pipes on the engine). On the other hand it might not have been Neptune, it could have been the Skipper with a mop head over his fact and Beribboned T-shirt & Jeans. Neptune and his assistant (B******d) anointed us all with a freshly scooped bucket of Pacific Ocean. What a perfect occasion this would have been for a video camera.... Unfortunately I didn't get round to fixing the skippers broken one for 3 more days, by which time we had floated back over the equator again.
We eventually arrived in Puerto Ayoro, Santa Cruz, Galapagos Ecuador, and heroically struggled manfully with the Dinghy (which will only stay pumped up for about 3 minutes) and went to the Pub. Roz (Auzzie) who was not used to boats, especially for 3 weeks, found that the ground seemed to be moving around quite a lot. The beer was cheap the food good and cheap and a great time was had by all, clambering down lava tubes, visiting the giant turtles/tortoises. I never did work out which. However the skipper was tired after an energetic morning chasing turtles with a top speed of .5MPH so he decided to sit down, the environmentalists amongst you will be horrified to hear that he actually sat on a tortoise/turtle.
The other Englishman was forced to fly back to Blighty, to take his family on holiday...... Oh what a life, 3.5 Months on Örnen then go home for a holiday. The five of us who remained headed for the Marquesas, at warp speed, it only took us 25.5 days to get there, a distance of 3050Nm the trip to Galapagos was only be about 850!!!
To the Tune of "Everybody's Talking at Me"
Coastguard's looking at us,
Wondering what the hell were doin',
Ever morning wake up Knowin',
We aint made it nowhere,
Just back and forth and in a straight line,
We're goin' where the winds are blowin'
Round and round with map in hand,
"Oh Tom" they say "When are we Goin' to see those turtles walk the land",
Together on Örnen we'll keep afloatin',
Headin' to Galapagos that's our plan.
"Oh Tom, How much further",
For the crew of Örnen that's their chant.
We arrived, with a grown up cat, equipped with only the highest quality Black volcanic cat sand, in Hiva Oa, the most expensive place on earth, breathtakingly beautiful, but definitely look but don't touch. We went for a walk it was all we could afford. We legged it off to Tahiti ASAP, none of can afford a place that does beer at $5.5us a beer and washing up liquid at $12.
We stopped at Apataki atoll to do some repairs, precision readjustment of the clutch with a 3lb lump hammer and a 3foot crowbar. It works now! Thanks to my skillful application of brute force and Ignorance.
Apataki was so beautiful that I sat on the cross trees and videoed our departure, with tide rips fish traps sun and palm trees. We arrived at Tahiti, and couldn't check in properly because the Customs and Immigration keep hours where by Customs closes before Immigration opens and you have to go to Immigration first! Idiots, in he end we didn't bother. Tahitian people were great, but the bureaucrats and French have ruined it, my advice skip French Polynesia (or only go there to band the bomb demos) head straight for Raratonga, Cook Islands, they know the Rugby scores, the harbour master comes to you to check you in, the Islands is beautiful, English speaking and very friendly. The beer is better and half the price. Mopeds are reasonably priced and they give you Cook Islands driving licenses for them even if your English one doesn't let you drive motor bikes. Happy hour tonight then of we go again to Tonga, Oh and In case your curious I only fell off the Moped once. I hear even graham is asking about me, I assume the bar profits are down.
I'm about 20 Degrees south Latitude, in the depths of winter... Not that I mind too much. Happy Hamster Hunting, don't get crushed and mashed. Tom