Sunday, January 31, 2016

Sailing Along - Galapagos to Easter Island

This was the longest sail of this rotation and it passed quite peacefully. The winds weren't too strong for the most part so the boat wasn't heeled over too much which makes living conditions easier. 

As expected the weather has been warm but I'm surprised how cool it got at night. Definitely sweaters needed for night watch. 

Speaking of cool weather I had the chance to throw a few snowballs at unsuspecting people… because of defrosting the freezer, not any strange weather phenomenon. 

Towards the end of the sail there was a full moon and it was going down on starboard as the sun came up on port. Quite a sight! Now that we're further from the equator the sunsets and sunrises are longer and more spectacular. 

The students had exams for a few days and when those were done we had an afternoon deep cleaning the ship. 

I worked on learning a bit of celestial navigation. Mainly how to figure out your longitude by shooting the sun at noon using a sextant. The sextant is remarkable hard to use. It sounded easy but is a little more tricky in practice than in theory. Hopefully I can work on that some more. There is also a lot of math involved and that is a little easier to get a handle on. 

And now I'm half way through my rotation! Two more sails to come. 

Friday, January 29, 2016


You could say our stay in the Galapagos Islands wasn't exactly what we were expecting. There was some issue with customs/immigration and we spent 4 days at anchor before being allowed ashore and that was limited to town only and strict orders not to enjoy any wildlife (we weren't allowed in the national park that makes up 95% of Isla Isabella where we were). However as we'd rather given up hope of being allowed ashore at all even a couple hours to set foot on land (which makes our passport stamps more legit) and use wifi was welcome. As such nothing too exciting to report from land. I had a decent internet connection to do "life maintenance" (ie. pay bills) and had a nice Facetime session with family. Also sent postcards and enjoyed an ice cream but did not enjoy seeing iguanas and seals. ;) 

There was no problem to enjoy wildlife from the ship and at night we shone a light into the water which did a good job of attracting critters. During our stay I saw a penguin (! first wild one I've seen), sharks, seals, pelicans and sea turtles. I went swimming one day and did a bit of snorkeling but there wasn't much to look at (maybe due to waves?). 

So I have been to the Galapagos and seen some wildlife but there is definitely more to explore if I ever go back!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Sailing Along - Panama to Galapagos

First sail of the rotation done! Left Panama on Christmas Eve day and started with light winds and following seas which was nice for easing back into life at sea. Later in things got a little more interesting but nothing too crazy and we were able to make it most of the way under sail. 

We had a lot of gulls visiting the ship as we sailed along. They tried to make themselves at home and didn't seem much perturbed about our attempts to get them to leave. But eventually they did before drastic measures had to be taken. 

Of course the students were back for this sail and I easily met my goal of learning all their names on the first leg of our journey. As there are only 14 it wasn't too difficult and I'm now working on where they're all from and next they suggest I learn their ages. They are a great group of kids and it will be nice to get to know them more over the next couple months. 

After the summer it's so nice to have a longer staying and consistent crew in the banjer. It's such a refreshing change to have people on galley who know how to set up, run the dishwasher and understand the flow of meal times. And they are very appreciative to have a baker in board! If nothing else I've won them over with butter and sugar. 

We celebrated Christmas and New Year's on this leg. For Christmas we had brunch and dinner all together in the banjer, the students had the day off of classes and lots of Christmassy things going on throughout the day. I had a bit of a sleep in day and enjoyed opening cards and presents I'd brought from home. That night was a full moon and happily it wasn't cloudy - a full moon at sea is pretty spectacular and was a great finishing touch on the day. 

On New Year's Eve we set off some flares in lieu of fireworks; at 10:30 so that people could get to bed not too late if they wanted. At this time we also crossed the equator and brought Sørlandet to the south Pacific for the first time! What an exciting end to the year! 

New Year's Day started with a brunch as did Christmas and then we had our equator crossing ceremony with King Neptune. I can't say more than that here but it was a unique experience. After we were done with that we had our first south Pacific swim call! Yipee!

Our timing got changed a bit and we arrived to Galapagos on January 4 as that's when customs opened after the New Year's holiday. 

Overall a bit of an unroutine sail with the holidays thrown in there but a good first voyage and definitley warmer than I've experienced on board for a while.