Since arriving in La Cruz, Bandaras Bay, the push for me has been to get Kandu going and to keep her so. Several unexpected problems of significant proportion required my undivided attention and complete effort: physically, mentally, and emotionally. Delays were compounded by the pressures of the upcoming hurricane season, the French Polynesian visa requirement that we arrive in June, and the disappointment of having to cross so many desirous locations off our list. These demands left little time for visiting Mexico or writing. I went to bed exhausted around 8pm and woke around 5am. The pressure was non-stop. We knew that once we left Mexico, any chance of getting parts would be very difficult, time constraining, and costly. It felt like “now or never.”
At one point, it looked like the lack of supportive wind would force us to cross Galapagos off our itinerary, a magical place I really didn’t want to miss. Realizing that the wind would not be dangerous, but variable, light, and rain-riddened, we made the decision to suck it up, spend the fuel, and go for it.
The sail to the Galapagos was uncomfortable and discouraging. Sailing in confused seas (again), motor sailing often, having to dodge thunderstorms and squalls day and night, all as we passed under the latitude of the sun and its intense tropical heat (sea temp 89oF), against the southeast trades and current, placed in jeopardy the whole idea of sailing around the world. Rain forced us to close all hatches and portlights, cutting off ventilation. Were it not for the portable 12-volt fans throughout the boat, we would have drowned in our own sweat. I often sleep in the cockpit so Bryce and Trent have easy access to me should they have any question. The last 4 days were the worst, as we tacked back and forth against ever-changing winds, through wet thunderheads, rocking in all directions, while discovering that our alternator charging system (the engine powers the alternator that makes electricity to charge the ship’s batteries) had failed for some unknown reason.
Arriving in Puerto Villamil at the southern tip of Isla Isabela, the largest of the Galapagos islands, 17 days after leaving Mexico, we focus on meeting the complex entry requirements. Were it not for the help of our agent, JC DeSoto, we’d not have done so well. Entry permitted, and although many more standard issues beckon, I apply intense focus on resolving the alternator problem. It takes 8 days, more than half of our intended stay. In between the other boat maintenance requirement and preparing for the next, and longest crossing, I visit Galapagos with the family, taking several half-day excursions, land and sea.
Time constraints of the Galapagos and of French Polynesia require we leave now. Instead of sailing to Gambier, a less comfortable sail, we’ve opted for sailing directly to the Marquesas, a more favorable direction with regard to wind and sea. I can’t very much afford another uncomfortable crossing if I want to keep morale up for a 25-day crossing. In Gambier, we’d have to leave after a week or two. In the Marquesas, we can stay a month or longer, providing the rest and stability we all crave. Off to the Marquesas we go.
The intensity of effort to prepare Kandu for the Galapagos and beyond, combined with the power issue that developed along the way, prevented me from blogging. Although I have many stories to share, I’m going to have to wait until we settle into the Marquesas before I can publish. Appreciating that such breaks from regular posting are the death of a blog-site, I hope you’ll bear with us and reap the reward once we are able to share once again on a more regular basis. In the meantime, for those on Facebook and/or Twitter, we have been posting regularly to these sites via our satellite texting device, Delorme inReach SE, which provides not only the text, but a link back to our current position. The same device provides the tracking and map location of Kandu, a link to which is provided on this site’s front page. So if you’re needing your RigneyKandu fix, look for us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/rigneyskandu or me up on Facebook (Eric Rigney) or on Twitter@RigneysKandu until we can get back to delivering more in-depth writing.
Thanks for sticking with us!!!