Marquesas – First Day at Sea

Ross

08 April 2010 | Isabela and Pacific Ocean

Friday morning, we woke up and headed into town to get diesel, water, and jump on the internet one last time. We found the soft serve ice cream place and had a final ice cream (I seriously must have had 30 ice creams in the 14 days we were in the Galapagos). We said our goodbyes to Pauno…one of the funniest guys I’ve ever met and a tough person to replace. He had to be back in Finland for a few months, but he’s hoping to jump back on the boat further down the road. By 2pm, we had the anchor pulled up with Diego on board. We were doing a lap around the anchorage and noticed we dropped our fender, so had to swing through another time to grab it. It wasn’t the smoothest start, but we were off for the Marquesas. Although almost everyone else we had heard from had to motor for around a day to get good sailing wind, we had strong wind right away. We decided to change our headsail and took down the jib we had been using for a larger, lighter jib for lighter winds. It made a difference right away and we were cruising out to sea. Alex noticed something in the water and we all jumped up to take a look. It ended up being a huge manta ray that had to have been 6 ft across. The cruise the surface sometimes and as they flap their wings, the tips will peak of the water and you can see the white skin on the bottom. It waved to us for a few minutes before diving out of sight. Not long afterward, I heard “PFFFT” off to the starboard and saw a big boil. I then saw water shoot into the air, just like in those commercials with the whales. There were 2 humpback whales about 100 ft away from us and they were pretty big. It’s tough to estimate but I’d say that the largest one was around 30 ft long. Whales can be dangerous for boats and it’s usually best to sail the opposite direction, but these quickly disappeared. A few minutes later, Alex thought he saw some dolphins or sharks. They were slow moving big black fins and there were around a dozen all around our boat. We thought they were orcas, but Diegos mom, a Galapagos guide, called a few minutes later and she said they were pilot whales. We had put out a heavy duty fishing line that Diego got from his brother that must have been around 500 lb test. It was much more like a rope and the leader was super thick wire. The lure was homemade, but looked like it’d work. As soon as Diego got off the phone with his mom, something hit the lure and dove with it. We were hand lining it, so he started pulling it in, but it ripped the line out of his hands. We had the line wrapped around a cleat, but whatever bit snapped the line like it was nothing (taking our best lure with it). It had to have been huge and it may have been a ray, but whatever it was it was big enough to snap the thickest line that I had ever seen used for fish. So in less than an hour, we had seen a huge ray, two humpback whales, a dozen pilot whales, and had something snap our 500 lb line not a bad farewell from the Galapagos. As the sun went down, we had our last look at land for the next 25 days or so (hopefully less), but we couldn’t have asked for a better last hour before sunset.

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