Month: March 2016

Mini Ship’s Blog and POSITION REPORT – Beach House – Arrival and Departure from Malpelo Island…..

March 30, 2016

TIME: 2016/03/30 13:28
LATITUDE: 03-58.24N
LONGITUDE: 081-41.16W
SPEED: 6.6
COMMENT: Beach House – ABEAM – Malpelo Island; Day 2 – 126 nm

A note to our Facebook followers….So you know, we cannot receive Facebook “at sea”, but know lots of comments are being left our notification system – thanks. We now have over 450 email subscribers and over 250 Facebook followers.

The best way to contact us directly is:
Nikki is at: nicolaw(AT)
Scott is at: WDB5638(AT)
We have satellite email, but NO internet. We remote post via satellite. Our “on board” emails cannot take any attachments.

We arrived at 0630 local time and the first thing I thought is that King Kong must live here. No jungle, just a stark barren (but beautiful in it’s own way) rock. It’s about 3000 (1Km) feet long and just under 1000 feet high (300 meters). The top looks like (but I don’t think is) a volcano like looking dome. There are roughly 10 nearby pinnacles sticking out of the water like needles to a height of about 40-80 feet.

We hailed and received three different radio voices. One female and they were merely acknowledging our presence and intended route. Eventually, they told us we could not stop without a permit, but we suspect the real reason was that their supply vessel was here on the one and only mooring on the east side of the island. Going ashore would be most daunting! There is a gantry about 40 feet above the water that extends out about 80 feet and I suspect either a gangway is temporarily lowered or a bucket seat is deployed or maybe even a rope ladder! The cliffs are absolutely sheer.

As such, we said hello and thanks and did a circumnavigation of the island which took about 45 minutes. You could easily see the appeal here for the dive crowd as they would use the mooring and do large dinghy diving off the pinnacles. Apparently, the shark action here is world class.

This was a lark anyway and only added a total of 30 miles to the entire trip. I’ve just topped up the fuel tanks and we’ve plenty left. If the wind doesn’t appear, we can motor the entire way with fuel left over. We’ve 535 miles to go which should take at this speed about 3 days. We should arrive at San Cristobal Island, Galapagos on Saturday morning. For those who have followed us a long time, that will be where “Beach House” crosses her own wake and completes her world circumnavigation. Bitter sweet and I’ll have a blog on it soon after our arrival.

Motoring along,
Scott and Nikki

Mini Ship’s Blog and POSITION REPORT – Beach House – Panama to Malpelo Island to the Galapagos Islands…..

March 29, 2016

TIME: 2016/03/29 17:04
LATITUDE: 05-45.51N
LONGITUDE: 080-33.15W
SPEED: 6.8
COMMENT: Beach House – En Route – Malpelo Island (Columbia) to Galapagos Isles (Ecuador) – Day 1 – 191 nautical miles. Total distance to Galapagos, approx. 875 nm.

We had some real “breeze” last night – 18-25 knots from directly behind us. Add the strong current running with us (up to 2.5 knots) out of the Gulf of Panama and despite being reefed and only using the staysail last night, we covered 191 nautical miles. A great first days run. We are currently, 120 miles NE of Malpelo Island which we expect to be at tomorrow in the morning. If the winds are light (as we expect), we may ask permission to stay a day or even two on their mooring buoy if it’s available and come ashore. If the winds become favorable, we may pass.

This is a remote Columbian Navy outpost which primarily keeps claim to the island and poachers away. There was once a massacre of sharks here numbering over 2000 – just for their fins.

There are 1-2 commercially operated recreational dive boats that do come here for the “big animal” encounters. There is apparently nowhere to anchor as the cliffs are steep and deep. The island is only one mile long, quite barren looking from the photos and has some outlying rocks to the north. As such, if we stop, it will have to be on the Navy’s mooring which is apparently, mostly available. Of course we will ask permission and it’s requested that all vessels transiting within 20 nm of the island call them via VHF Radio.

For the Google Earth savvy amongst you, Malpelo Island is at: 03 degrees 59 minutes North x 081 degrees 36 minutes West.

It’s a nice day out here, but like much of the Pacific side of Panama, it’s very hazy. We are after all in the ITCZ! Despite this. Not a hint of rain so far and I should be reminded to be careful what I ask for! Much cooler out here than the coast.
Scott and Nikki

Mini Ship’s Blog and Position Report – Beach House – Enroute Galapagos Islands via Malpelo Island?…..

March 28, 2016

TIME: 2016/03/28 19:00
LATITUDE: 08-12.41N
LONGITUDE: 078-54.17W
SPEED: 6.8
COMMENT: Beach House – En Route – Malpelo Island? to Galapagos Islands. We’re currently ABEAM Punta Cocos at the southern tip of Isla del Rey, Las Perlas Islands. Just went by the 150 year old wreck of the world’s first commercial submarine). Once used in the pearling industry here.

We’ve spent several days in the Eastern Las Perlas Islands awaiting a “weather window”. There was a great one a week ago, but alas
it appears one is not to be found. So rather than burn fuel waiting for a window, we’ll burn fuel and head where we want to go. We’ve over 8000 sailing miles this season to go to get to Sydney on time for the Christmas/New Years celebrations (with our families)2017! Yes…we are taking the long road home.

Now, we’re about as far away from OZ as we can be in the Pacific and in the far Eastern side of the ITCZ (Inter Tropical Convergence Zone) and it’s hot/muggy and windlass here. It’s where the Northern and Southern Trade winds meet for those of you who want to know! At least we don’t have thunderstorms which this area and to the north and south of are famous for in the summers. The winds are anything from North to South – East to West at 20 knots (in the night from Panama south) to zero just about everywhere else. We’ve plenty of fuel and are updating our weather every six hours looking for a breath. The seas are flat.

We’re headed in the direction of Malpelo Island which is SW of us exactly 300 nautical miles. It should take us about 2 days to get there at 7 knots (if we can maintain this speed!). We might try and stop if the weather window improves for the last (then) 500 miles to the Galapagos Islands.

Malpelo is stark and only a mile long. The Columbian Navy keeps an outpost there and the main attraction is “big animal” diving. Galapagos and Hammerhead sharks are reported to be in relatively shallow water and everywhere! I doubt I’ll do a dive as Nik isn’t into sharks (yet…:-)) and it may require a permit which we don’t have. There is NO anchorage there and if the Navy says it’s okay, we could tie up to one of their supply ship mooring buoys. We’ll see.
The wind and current look more favorable in the direction of Malpelo and essentially, it’s right on the way.

It will mostly be a long motor slog till we get near the Galapagos. We’re planning on doing only about 100-120 miles/day. We’re topped up with fuel, but still might NEED to do some sailing which we hope to do starting tonight with the diurnal wind coming south out of the Gulf of Panama.

Getting close to “tying the knot”. Where we’re headed….I’ve already been.

Scott and Nikki (making a great pizza!)