TIME: 2009/05/07 14:38
LATITUDE: 05-19.85N
LONGITUDE: 087-06.01W
SPEED: 6.1
BARO: 1012.9
COMMENT: Beach House – EN ROUTE – Academy Bay, Isla Santa Cruz, Galapagos Islands

Dear F&F,
May 6, 2009

Yesterday we went for another hike. It drizzled at the beginning. We were wishing for more rain once we got going, as the sun was pretty hot even though it was only 7:30 a.m. It was about 1 hour & 20 minutes; a VERY steep climb up. Poor Scott found it aerobically challenging. I had a harder time downhill, with shorter legs, keeping my balance. The hike was worth our efforts. We enjoyed a beautiful canopy of trees at the top, some covered in vines & bromiliads. So green, lush & tropical rainforest-y.

Two rangers & a volunteer came by to collect our additional fees. We had paid up through the last day of diving, not exactly sure at that time how many additional days we would stay. It is $85 a day for us & the boat, not diving. We paid $20 more per day (for both of us) on the diving days. This is the one place in Costa Rica that they are doing a really good job of preserving nature, so we are happy to support their efforts.

Scott is slogging away at the photo & video editing while it is fresh. It is just VERY time consuming & rather tedious. He has the patience for it & without the pressure of any deadline, he keeps at it. I keep him fed & watered, get him up to move from time to time & then he is back at it. Meanwhile I write, so it works out well. We each appreciate the others contribution to the website, so make a good team.

Tomorrow it is off to the Galapagos at first light. The wind picked up from the east today which may make for lovely sailing. In any event, we have enough fuel to motor the distance if necessary. We expect to be at sea 3 days & nights.

Thank you for writing us, we love to get mail! (beachhouse51@gmail.com) if you don’t have another address.

Scott & Cindy

Dear F&F,
May 2, 2009

After gluing & hand stitching a torn seam in my wetsuit yesterday, I was hot & bored enough to risk the afternoon dive. We stayed fairly shallow & my ear did not bother me. I was able to clear it on the descent which is the most important thing. It is great to be back in the water. I realized it is not just getting to see neat things, but I love the weightless feeling, the quiet sound of my own breath, and the ability to stretch & move my whole body in ways not possible with gravity. It was a shallow dive so we were able to stay almost 1 hour. Wonderful.

I enjoyed watching Scott’s night dive video of the White Tip Sharks hunting, but was just as glad I hadn’t gone. There were 10 tourists underwater with Scott & Wilson. I am spoiled with usually just the 2 of us, here the 3 of us. The group diving does not appeal to me. We will be with a gang onboard “Sky Dancer”, the boat we will live on for a week to dive in the Galapagos. Scott arranged this because they limit where private yachts can go. (With the outbreak of swine flu, they are getting even more strict & we may have to undergo fumigation or at least pay for an inspection). This, even though we left Mexico before the virus broke out. Anyway, not having to cook or clean for a week will make it worth being in a group setting. And who knows, we may meet our next best friends? Scott is still in email touch with a photographer we met on the charter dive boat out at San Benedicto Island & they met one time, visiting for one hour. But they are kindred spirits in their passion for underwater photography, so it was a nice connection. I know Scott will really be vibrating from the energy of many other photographers on board.

This boutique situation with our own divemaster & dinghy driver has turned out great. So much easier than having to load & unload our gear every day, find the dive site, deploy & hoist the anchor each time. Plus the worry about the current & not being able to swim that far out of sight of our dinghy anchor. Here, Raynor finds us very quickly on the surface & comes to scoop us up wherever we have drifted. A real luxury. Wilson has been a pleasure to be with.

We had pretty good hammerhead sightings on Dive #1 & #2, both deep dives. It was pouring rain when we ascended from #2. I felt sorry for Raynor bobbing on the surface in the dinghy getting soaking wet. This morning I gave him one of our clip-on hat-keepers, like I use, since I noticed he frequently was taking his hat off our turning it backwards so the wind wouldn’t blow it away. He was happy a sweet guy. His brother-in-law is the captain of another dive boat out here, “Okeanos Agressor”.

A solo sailor came into the bay this morning. Scott spoke to Bob on the radio & coached him on where to locate the mooring & the check-in procedure. Poor guy has been at sea a month from Manzanillo, Mexico. Had been trying to head straight to the Galapagos but said the wind & current were against him & he was running on fumes. He got within 65 miles of the Galapagos and ran so low on fuel and couldn’t make headway, so pulled in here to rest & hopes to buy diesel from one of the dive boats. There are 3 here right now & they go back & forth to mainland Coast Rica every week, so I am sure they will help him out. We bought 100 gallons, Scott had pre-arranged with the manager of our dive boat. This insures that we can motor all the way to the Galapagos, although we are sure hoping to sail.

Scott has been pulling up weather charts daily to see how the patterns our shaping up for our intended May 7th departure. The Inter Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) is just about on our head. It is where the Northern Hemisphere weather patterns meet the Southern Hemisphere weather patterns, so often squalls, varying & unpredictable wind directions. It is common for it to be here, a bit north of the equator. But it moves & they outline where it is every day on NOAA’s tropical surface analysis chart. We are so fortunate to have access to all this data & not just sail along unsuspecting.

I am religiously rinsing & drying my ears so microorganisms should not decide to set up housekeeping in there. This, plus continuing the full duration of Levaquin with no side effects which is great.

It is still raining very hard. The cooling benefit of spending time underwater is so fabulous. It is cooler today due to the rain, only 77 degrees. Perfecto. Not sure if we will go on an afternoon dive or not due to the rain as it affects the visibility. Tomorrow is our last day of diving here. We plan to get in at least one more hike before we must leave here for our next island paradise: the Galapagos.

Scott & Cindy