“I wonder how much moolah this official wants.”

Our Slog (Ships Log) with a Satelite View

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Day 6 - Crossing the Equator

We had about 24 hours of calm weather allowing all of us to catch up on some lost sleep. And after 3 1/2 solid days of towing Batwing 250 miles, Leonidas took over this morning. So for the first time in about 72 hours we were able to shut of the engine and sail along side them. We're beating into a SW wind at about 2.3 knots and have about 40 miles to go. We think this wind is land generated and we can actually see the land again!

In about 8 miles we'll be crossing the Equator, which isn't really that significant but traditionally it's a big deal. We brought some Champaign for the occasion, but it's a bit bouncy for a party. Perhaps it will settle down tonight and allow us to make better headway down the coast. We might be able to make it into Bahia Ecuador in time to catch the high tide at 4:30pm into the entrance. Sleep!

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Day 5

Posted on Saturday Apr 19, 2008

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Well, not a lot going on with the Sea Tug. We are still pulling away. We thought up a way we might repair Batwing's prop temporarily so that he could motor while we tow him. This would give us a fighting chance against the strong current. So we are heading for the nearest bit of land we can manage to struggle to in order to anchor and try to fix his prop.

While we are there we'll catch up on some sleep and off-load some fuel from his boat to ours and Leonidas. I sure am tired, but there seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel.

The winds have died down and the seas are FINALLY calmer. This is helping our progress and attitudes.

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Day 4

Last night was a rough one for the tug and tow (sarana & batwing). We crossed the ITCZ and there were squalls everywhere and the seas were churned up like a group of failed weightwatchers showing off their cannonballs at the public pool. With our very limited maneuverability we were able to dodge most of the really big squalls, but not all of them. And towing a boat through those waves was a bear. Batwing had to try to hand-steer much of the night behind us while holding on for dear life.

We are still about 180 miles from Ecuador, but now we have a NE current setting us too far east. The wind has fortunately switched more to SW allowing us to point close to our destination, but it is very very very very very very very slow. Oh and did I mention uncomfortable? We've got about 15-20 SW with a lot of chop. It seems to be calming some, but we definitely have at least 3 days of this and we will be at the limit of our fuel. We might have to try an ocean transfer of fuel from Batwing to make the full distance.

As a backup I am going to alert the Ecuadorian officials of our situation and see if we can establish contact with them over the HF radio. This way if conditions get worse, or we have to cut batwing loose, or we just can't get them moving in the right direction we will have some kind of backup plan for getting them back to land.

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Day 3 - Broken shaft

Posted on Thursday Apr 17, 2008

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The seas calmed down finally dropping to 1-3 feet so Ron could dive on his boat and look at what happened to his prop. Turns out the whole shaft is broken off. What a bummer. No slapping on the backup prop there.

So we have taking over the "Open Ocean Sea Tug" title. We started towing them this morning and we are only able to make about 3knts and we are about 25-30 degrees off course because of the strong 2knot WSW current trying to drive us to the Galapagos. We remain hopeful that once we near the coast we will get a break in the current, otherwise we'll be in for a long long long slog at about 1 knot or less for days.

I think our cats want to kill us. Shh...here comes one now. sdnmtr ko,.fkl

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Day 2 Sharks and Lost Prop

Posted on Wednesday Apr 16, 2008

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We had another good sailing day, covering about 120 miles and sailing for about 20 hours. At one point we had a shark following our boat, a big grey sucker. Sherrell said it looked like a nurse shark, but I think it might be a doctor shark. Anyway it got bored quickly and took off.

However our spirits were dampened when Batwing called us in the morning to report a problem -- they lost their prop. Somehow it had become detached from their shaft and lost to the deep. You might think, well, it's a sailboat, so sail. Unfortunately Batwing is a junk rigged sailboat and this is a mostly upwind passage, junk rigs don't like going upwind. So we've spent quite a bit of time debugging his problem to determine it is hopeless then the rest of the day trying to match his sailing speed. I can honestly say I've never worked so hard to go so slow in my life. We often have two reefs in the jib and two in the mainsail just to go slow enough to stay with them. Their orginal stragety for this passage was to motorsail upwind the whole way if necessary, but with no prop and the current pushing them SW, they were screwed.

For us, it got to the point where we couldn't use the autopilot to steer because our boat speed was so slow and hand steering 300 miles was really looking depressing. So Leonides the other boat with us has now taken Batwing into tow. We're not going much faster, but the speed is constant and we can at least head in the right direction. The bonus is the added speed lets us use our autopilot again. So rather than the fast 4-5 day passage we were looking at achieving, I expect we'll be out here for a while longer.

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Day 1

Well 24 hours later we've covered 150 miles and sailed about 1/2. We are into the ITCZ which last night treated us to hair raising squalls filled with lightening. By turning and running from them we were able to use radar and avoided the worst of them. I hope we can clear out of this squally area soon. We have about 450 miles to go. The cats are not very happy, but they're adjusting as are we. It's a bit bouncy, but we are making fast time with a healthy current push.

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New Chain

Posted on Monday Apr 7, 2008

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We managed to get our new anchor chain, which was no minor miracle. And to my extreme joy, I was able to finally remove the rust stains from our deck, hull and my skin. We took our 300' of old rusty and gave it to the locals for them to use on their much lighter boats. They should be able to cut it up and get some more life out of it.

The islands here are beautiful, if quiet sandy beaches are your thing.



We are prepping for the slog to Ecuador, about 7 days worth of a passage. We'll post our position and progress as we sail along. You should be able to track us on the map on this page. I suspect we'll be underway in about a week.

Boca Chica Panama

Posted on Tuesday Mar 25, 2008

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We made it to Panama. We certainly have been taking the slow boat here, but we're here. Now we are getting geared up for the crossing to Ecuador. I've got to get these stupid kidneys checked out via X-Ray to make sure I'm up for the passage and we're going to get our new anchor chain and I'm also going to bus down to Panama City with my life-raft to get it serviced before we go.

Boca Chica is more Chica than Boca -- it's a small sort of place. There's not much here at all, it's going to be a challenge just to get some diesel! Fortunately we are only an hour from David, the 2nd biggest town in Panama.

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Last Stop in Costa Rica

The day we were departing Golfito a familiar voice was hailing Sarana over the radio. It was Ryan on Sonrisa! We didn't expect to see him until Ecuador, so even though we checked out of the country, we stayed a day to hang with him. And out of a strange coincidence two other boats with surfers showed up in the bay. The beer and rum flowed and there might have been a flare or two involved that night. But we all agreed to head south to a surf spot in Costa Rica before all of us head our sperate ways.

That's how we ended up in Pavones catching some waves. This will be our very last stop in Costa Rica and it appears that some of our other friends are mystified we are still trying to work our way through Costa Rica. We just keep finding cool places to stop, isn't that the point?

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Photos from Costa Rica!

Posted on Thursday Mar 13, 2008

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Once we blasted our way out of the Papagayo winds in Northern Costa Rica and tied up at the Costa Rica Yacht Club, we were able to recharge. Feeling a bit spent and depressed (a new kidney stone didn't help) and with a long list of broken things, we really needed a break. The Yacht Club was great, Sherrell flew back to Seattle to help her mom through a tough surgery (which turned out well). I stayed at the Yacht Club and got busy on the boat.

Most of the boats hit bottom on low tide (like our neighbor in the photo) but we were fortunate to stay upright so I was comfortable reparing the genoa, main sail, sail cover, autopilot, towed water generator, cleaning the dirty fuel tank, painting and repairing the raw water pump, and a crap load of other stuff.

Anyway our buddies on Desidarata showed up and we made plans for Sherrell's return to rent a car and split the time. Finally something fun! So when I picked Sherrell and her 170 lbs of boat parts up from the airport in a car, it was quite a treat. We used the car to go to Arenal, the only active volcano in Central America.

We hiked trails, swam in a hot river and in general spent two days not working or worrying about papagayos. It was a break we really needed. We saw lots of animals like this Coati:

After touring we used the car and had some more medical tests done (I passed that stupid kidney stone the day before Sherrell came back). Not exactly fun, but someone's gotta help those doctors pay for their club memberships.

We eventually got of out Puntarenas and the Yacht Club with a working sailboat and started to explore the unknown areas of Golfo de Nicoya. This included a hike up to some waterfalls. There were three falls in a row with swimming pools in between. The brave (or crazy) jump from the second falls where this photo was taken and into the pool below!
There's also a rope swing which was more my speed and lots of fun trails to climb. We even saw howler monkeys romping around in the trees there. We've done a lot of touring and exploring new bays and exploring parts that many boats don't visit. Now we are winding up our Costa Rica trip down here in Golfito in the southern end of the country and in about a week we'll be chillin in Panama where we have a new anchor chain to pickup in a town called David.

Not much has changed on board. Jordan is still biting the hand that feeds her and trying to kill as many things as she can get her paws on.