Wednesday, 18 April 2007

i made it!!!

I completed my first passage & I’m still totally sane – debatable I know! We arrived here at Santa Cruz, the main habituated Galapagos Island, in the early hours of Friday 6th April. We were tired but excited to explore new land. The waters are a great turquoise colour with sea lions & iguanas swimming between the boats. Blue footed boobies dive into the waters next to us & black tipped reef sharks lurk under the boat.
We decided against purchasing a permit prior to our arrival, so sweet talking the port captain into granting us permission to stay, was a must! We both dressed smartly & I wore a skirt to try & assist matters! Bobby did his thing, friendly banter & chit chat in Spanish, whilst I smile sweetly not having a clue what is going on! It worked & we were not only given authority to stay but to travel to a few other islands.
Our friends & fellow cruisers, Blue Moon & Helen Kate (their boat names) are also here. We have had fun hanging out, seeing the sights & of course drinking!
Unfortunately we haven’t had much time for exploring the island as the “to do list” is back & grows each day as another problem rises. After dealing with an infestation of moths in our store of cereal (it was heartbreaking to throw out 16 packets of cereal – we live on the stuff during crossings!) & a toilet that refused to work (for those of you who know boat talk, the holding tank refused to pump out), I had a small fit, fed up with working non stop & stated “why don’t we just stay in a harbour at home, we provision, work hard, complete a weeks crossing to a new place, then don’t get chance to see it properly because the work starts all over again”!! I’ve mellowed after some deep breathing! ; )
I have my good friends Matt & Cath flying in from England. They arrive Monday (16th) so its all systems go to get everything ready for entertaining & play time. On top of that we also have to be ready to start the next crossing (four weeks!!) when they leave!

i´m a shellback!!

We crossed the equator in the evening of the 5th April 2007. Leaving the comfort of the northern hemisphere & bound for the delights of the southern!
We celebrated with a bottle of champers, sharing it with Neptune & throwing him treasured gifts to request a safe passage. In case this wasn’t enough for Neptune, we also dressed up for the occasion! Deciding this only 2 hours prior to the crossing, we hastily set about making costumes. I became “Miss Neptune”, princess of all weathers, the sun, the stars & the moon (yes I know I’m greedy!) & Bobby became “Surf Crotch” with a fantastic trident made from kitchen foil. We were impressed with our Blue Peter efforts!

Thursday, 12 April 2007

Photo Gallery Updated

sunsets on the ocean, originally uploaded by Suzi Roberts.

Click above to check out all the latest photos uploaded to Flickr.

Saturday, 7 April 2007

message from captain bobby

Let me tell you about a very brave woman named Suzi Roberts. She took a leave of absence from her career, rented her flat in Brighton England, said good bye to all her friends and family and flew to Panama for a completely different life. And she did all this in spite of the fact that her sister, just a year younger than her, was killed only 6 months ago in a horrible accident in Africa.
She worked long hard hours, full of frustration, without speaking a drop of Spanish, just to get Barraveigh ready to cross an ocean. And she did it all on someone else's boat with a stubborn captain who likes to make rules.
Up until departing Panama, she had never done an overnight passage, let alone a 1000 mile journey that would have her all alone, at night, in an exposed cockpit, with total responsibility for this 12 ton beast, as she raced ahead severely heeled over making 8 knots. She was then allowed only 2 hours of sleep before having to do it all over again and again. She was scared, and she was alone, and she cried, but she never quit, and she never so much as missed a watch, and if she had to wake me to help with reefing the sails when the wind went over 20 knots she would let me sleep an extra 20 minutes to make up for it.
On top of it all she cooked, cleaned and wore that bulky harness/PFD, with clacking carabiners without complaining every night. She's going to cross the equator tonight about 9pm California time. In sailor jargon, that means she is about to graduate from "Pollywog" to "Shellback". It's a big deal for any sailor and Suzi Roberts takes the titled on her first over night passage. You want to talk about courage, about tenacity of spirit, and having a never quit attitude - That's my Suzi! None of it has been easy. She's exhausted and in need of a real shower, but she dug deep and she overcame.
Victory to you Suzi Roberts! You are only a day away from anchoring in the Galapagos.

Tuesday, 3 April 2007

Journey so far!

620 miles completed, only another 270 until the Galapagos Islands!

We began with perfect calm seas & steady but strong winds - it was a dream. On my first 2 hour night watch I was accompanied by a pod of 20 dolphins swimming alongside Barraveigh, playing in her wake & diving out of the water. Moonlight glistened off their backs as they as they broke the surface & there was no sound except for their breathing & the sound of the sea. The wind died after 36 hours & we spent the next 44 hours motoring. The drone of the engine drove us crazy & we dreamt of wind. The sea was so flat & a perfect shade of deep royal blue. In the captains words "looks like a pool of ink". The air was muggy & still. Cooling myself was achieved by throwing buckets of seawater over my head! On a plus side we gave the motor a proper work out & there were no problems.

Day 3 rewarded us with a breathtaking sight. A pod of 12 killer whales in the calm seas close to the boat. They were huge & graceful as they broke the seas surface. As they began to head towards us we put the engine into neutral hoping they would loose interest. We didn't want to upset them or give them any reason to come closer as they can sink the boat. Luckily they swam by & we continued motoring.

The winds picked up & we have made good progress. We are healed over to our starboard side, beating into 25 knot winds & rolly seas which cause us to roll from side to side as well as lurching forward & backward. Its not the most comfortable of journeys I've made! No sign of seasickness but my stomach has been in knots with nerves & I have totally lost my appetite. On a plus side there is no likelihood of falling out of bed. I'm pinned to the side of the boat which I've lined with pillows to try & make a little more comfortable.

We have settled into our night watches but in the present uncomfortable conditions & lack of sleep, its taking its toll. Finding it hard to get motivated during the day & only managing to read or catch up on sleep. Total sense of humour failure last night as the winds picked up, the seas got rougher & we got faster doing nearly 7 knots - it freaked me out! We have calmed the speed down by reefing the headsail to almost nothing but its still not comfortable conditions! Only another 270 miles to go & I'm counting off every mile! ; )

Its a year today since I met Bobby in Costa Rica! If someone had told me then that I'd be here now I wouldn't have believed them! Apart from the present conditions I'm loving it & wouldn't change a thing!