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Showing posts from March, 2022

Before the Mast

25th of March We had the splicing kit out today. I was delighted to learn a few new skills and hopefully do something useful for the boat. We made a couple of soft shackles, wrapped in a Dyneema cover. I always wondered how they were made. The session was interrupted when James, upon inspection of the splice end of the jib sheets at the pole end with binoculars, decided that we had a problem that needed to be addressed. The cover on the sheets was starting to be wear through, due to chaffing with the pole end. The clew of the jib is too high off the deck to reach, when the jib is furled. Someone (James) would have to go up the foil in a bosuns chair, to remove the jib sheets. No easy task, on a rolling sea. We instead rigged a second sheet. Loaded it, so that we could ease and remove the actual sheets. The pole end had chewed the rope cover up a bit, but after 2 Atlantic crossings and a good chunk of the Pacific behind us, some chaffing wasn't a surprise. The solution was to cover

Peaceful Easy Feeling

22nd of March We saw a ship today. It was the first sign of life, other than a seabird, flying fish or the swimming variety of fish, that we had seen in almost a week. We haven't seen a plane or even a satellite. We are truly in a very remote part of the world. Mind you, there is a bit of a community here in the South Pacific all the same. Twice a day the Oyster fleet hold a SSB call. Matters relating to everyone's position and sailing conditions are discussed. They then move on to more pressing issues such as, if anyone had caught a huge fish (I did yesterday BTW!...), sharing meal ideas and the other day, a sing song. The SSB is a crackly, tricky bit of kit to master. It's like a marine HAM radio. Communications have become so easy back in the world that we've briefly escaped from, that it's easy to take it for granted. Having to work to establish communications somehow adds some extra value to it. Other aspects of this ocean crossing challenges other perspective

Where are the trade winds?

For 2 years Ruth II has been prepared for her Round the World voyage, all consumables counted and reordered so that we wouldn't find ourselves wanting anything. One passage, we believed, would have very little wind at all; something that you can't stow in the bilge. The 3000 miles from the Galapagos Islands to the Marquesas are described as a slow and steady 10-15 from the East. Our weather routing suggested that we push down to a latitude of 10 degrees south to find the trade winds.. Well, 2 days of motoring, 2 days of ghosting upwind, sling shotting around the bottom of a low pressure, and 2 days or crashing deep into the Southern Ocean was followed by a week of a squally 25knot broad reach! We were regretting the UV damage we had needlessly put our secret weapon through, until today. All of a sudden a cloud slightly whispier than the rest passed over head and the breeze turned off. A big wind shift to Eastward and we were struggling to get the boat moving anywhere West of

All Vessels shall maintain a proper watch

After James's successful debut as a foot model, he expanded his portfolio to wrist watches for one of Johns new watches. Check out, and yes it's my birthday next month and I don't own a watch😊. For the master mariners amongst you ,the next bit of the blog you already go back to pouring over yachting monthly and dreaming. The non sailors may or may not be interested in what I have to say. The first rule of the sea is always to maintain a proper lookout/watch. We do this to avoid collisions with other vessels and to sail the boat safely relative to the conditions you have and the crews experience. Not everyone is comfortable hurtling along full pelt at night with every sail in your wardrobe up and full. Your eyes, ears and the instruments are crucial. All boats nowadays have AIS, Automatic identifications systems. Boats will appear on your screen and you can see what direction and speed they are doing. You use this information to decide if the

South Pacific Launch AKA Tradewinds? What Tradewinds?

Ruth II Day1 13th March Departed Santa Cruz in the Galapagos at 13:30 under power. After a careful stow and flaking of the anchor, we motored west along the coast. Earlier that morning we hiked to Tortuga Bay. It was a beautiful walk through mangrove trees, mixed with pear cactus and leather leaf trees, seemingly growing straight out of basalt rocks. We arrived at the first beach at Tortuga Bay which was broad and open, with very soft white sand. It gently shelved into the ocean. Not a surfing beach, we were assured by Andrew. There were plenty of fresh sea turtle tracks from the beach to the dunes behind. Clearly, there had been a busy night of excavating and egg laying. Towards the end of the beach there were several marine iguanas basking under the mangroves. They were completely unfazed by our presence. A short walk away was a large sheltered bay with a second beach. It was completely surrounded by mangroves, which probably accounted for the cloudy green tinge to the water. Of c

Promised Land

One day of doldrums motoring, was followed by two days of lumpy upwind sailing. The just when you thought you'd had enough we entered the transitional zone between the doldrums and the trade winds. Wind shifts like I've never experienced, squalls that last for hours with rain that makes my ISORA career look dry. Yes, Liam IT'S YOUR ROUND!!! We've Liam's brand new trade wind sail rigged and ready to deploy when we reach the south easterlies. Until then it's a big orange carrot leading these five donkeys to the trade wind promised land. Joking aside, while its tough going, we're sailors and we're made for this stuff. We're enjoying it like only sailors can because there's something very seriously wrong with us. Mary Happy St Paddy's Day

The New Midland Crew

Staring through my mask, down into the blue abyss with shimmering shafts of sunlight, I'm floating around Ruth 2 with a slight unease about the possibility of a passing curious Great White. This is after all his territory, 100+ from the Galapagos Islands and 2 vertical kilometers from the nearest hard surface. The days leading up to this were a frantic rush to arrange our daily lives to make up for our absence. Packing, checking lists, cross checking lists, the organisation and execution of travelling. A trivial effort compared to the colossal amount of logistics and work required to get Ruth 2 to our rendezvous point, but still, we were stressed. Even when we arrived in the Galapagos, we packed two fantastic days of tours, dives and hikes, to see as much as possible before setting off on our great adventure. Now, bobbing around the boat, in windless Pacific sunshine, any tension is melting away (apart for the aforementioned shark anxiety). We're learning to conform to a new of

This Little Piggy

Went to the market, And this little piggy stayed at home, This little piggy had roast beef, And this little piggy had none, And this little piggy went, Wee, wee, wee, All the way home. My writng seems to be in a bacon phase, maybe I'm missing meat?! Last Summer Andrew and I did The Sovereigns Cup in Kinsale. We were rafted up alongside an American live aboard guy called Kevin. Of course I had to make friends with him so we could have a nose around his boat, enjoy his sailing stories and drink his beer. Then another live aboard arrived with another American, and he too was called Kevin. I called him Kevin 2.This chap has been sailing around the world on his own for 5 years now on an old Colin Archer design boat with no engine. Nice fella, great stories and he drank our beer. Classic Irish Mammy I came away thinking , "There's something not quite right about that fella''. Some days later the penny dropped. It was his feet! His feet were triangular

To market to market

 To buy a fat pig. Home again, home again gigety-gig . To market to market, to buy a fat hog. Home again , home again , gigety- jog. I'll NEVER WHINGE about the Christmas food shop again πŸ˜„! On foot, with every bag we collectively owned off to the market we did go. Fresh and fantastic locally grown fruit in veg. The oranges weren't orange - they were so organic they were green. I could see them becoming a best seller in the Dalkey dry robe community . No packaging - in fact no bags even- BYO. I loved it! A taxi brought us back to the slip where a water taxi took us to the boat to off load. But that was just the fresh stuff….. Off out again with our bags for the dried and cans. Five trolleys later we left. My trolley hit a pot hole on the way to the dock and all the wraps landed in a muddy puddle . 'Twas a far cry from the Land Rover in the Cornelscourt car park after weekly food shop and my was language too! Another water taxi another off load onto

Muchas Tortuga

   Many tortoises . Just like the yank tourists photographing sheep on Connemara roads, so were we, only giant tortoises on Santa Cruz. They graze along the side of the road like pony's grazing " the long acre". My son Oscar has two tortoises at home. Geogre and Tony are eight years old and they're only the size of a side plate. Thankfully they will never reach the size of a Galapagos tortoise. They're so huge!!! The males can weigh as much as 417kgs and eat 4kgs of grass a day! Good lawnmowers methinks. Santa Cruz is the last island of our tour here and not my favourite of the three we visited. It's the Benidorm of Galapagos πŸ₯‚πŸ₯ƒπŸ’ƒπŸΌπŸ•ΊπŸ‘―‍♀️! Tomorrow we plan to snorkel with sharks, rays , turtles and sea lions an exciting tour on the last of these fabulous islands before the real sailing begins! James has serviced the water maker , the generator and the engine.We've the stainless steal to wax tomorrow evening then the big food shop which could

Five Climb a Volcano

 Today we struck out for the Sierra Negra Volcano on Isla Isobela. The second largest volcano in the world. The bus journey there had our teeth rattling ! It was the ultimate bone shaker. One was missing one's Land Rover with the air suspension . ( I'm learning to speak posh yottie )πŸ˜„!! If you were wondering if you were osteoporotic or had haemorrhoids you had your diagnosis 10kms into the journey confirmed . No need for fancy Beacon diagnostics !!! Hot and humid starting off I pondered the profound question . Which to I prefer? Going uphill or going downhill? Having given it much consideration over the long hike and on mature I reflection I arrived at my answer. NEITHER . The crater was HUGE 110kms around and the volcano is still active. The landscape beyond it was like nowhere I've been or anything I've seen except in the movie The Martian . Spectacular Lunch was included in the tour with vegetarian or meat options. It brought me back

Two Meters

 Two Meters How many times have we seen and heard that measurement over the last 23 months? Too many times . The two meter rule applies here too but it's 2 meters from all wildlife. A happy transition for sure. The only problem is that the animals can't read and we are having difficulty explaining this to the sea-lions in general and the iguanas in particular.  One friend from Irene IV had a dispute with a sea lion relating to social distancing and ended up in a&e with a nasty bite on his calf. But he is recovering well and has taken it in good spirits. In Ireland, they say you are never more than 3 feet away from a rodent. In Galapagos, it would be difficult to avoid meeting an exotic animal within the same 3 feet. We are truly privileged to have the opportunity to see all of these beautiful creatures in their natural habitat.  Mary is a hero and a rock star.( She made me say that)! Jeanne

Green tape

  Photo of Γ‰ibhe with the Galapagos customs official !!! Yesterday we arrived in Galapagos and checked in. The Seamasters agent came and talked us through the process which was very helpful. A Doctor and nurse boarded next and checked our blood pressure, oxygen saturations and lungs. Everyone's blood pressures were better. Courtesy no doubt of the chilled doldrums passage and healthy food. Next came two divers to check our hull. No barnacles or seaweed allowed. Our " bum" was clean which was a big relief . If they find anything you have to go 60 miles offshore and scrub out there. No fun in the open ocean. Then the big guns arrive. 1.A navy officer to check entry permits, passports and yacht certification. 2.An immigration officer to issue visas 3. Quarantine inspectors to inspect the galley, fridge , freezer and food stores. No oranges, no mangos , no berries, no pork , no beef, no chia , no fruit with leaves. No food in bad condition 4. A n