Malpelo Island

10th June 2010

We first spotted Malpelo Island at 1630 and all you could see was a lump on the horizon and as we approached it just rose higher and higher out of the ocean, Muz was kept busy with the fishing and he caught a filthy tuna which we bled and put on ice in the new esky for later. We could make out a mast so got on the blower to Dolly Grace and was informed that they had members of the Columbian navy, immigration and parks and wildlife aboard but all was good. We finally made it just on dark, Malpelo is not where it should be on the raymarine charts, its about a kilometre out to the northwest, first time that has happened. DSC00817 Tried to raft up with Dolly Grace but ripped one of their fittings off the deck so bugger that, it hit Muz on the hand and looked like it hurt, we just drifted apart but now the guys on DG had seen Mollie so over to Boomerang they flocked, photos after photos, beers too but they were a happy mob. As they were going to leave they asked if we could toe them around the corner of the island as it was pitch black by then. A rope hanging off the zodiac got caught around one of our props, so in I go with one of them to untangle it, we had our flood light shining over the side to see and just as we finished a huge shark swam into our field of vision, I shit myself and come out of that water and onto the step in one very frantic move. Once the excitement calmed down a bit, DG calling us wondering what was going on, we set off towing them as they just continuously shot off flares so we could see the island and the couple of stragglers off the eastern end. They then got their ship to turn on a floodlight which lit the horizon, they all piled into the dinghy and waved farewell, then the dinghy conked out, then they had to remove the cowl and get and old piece of rope to wind around the flywheel to restart it. Eventually they got under way and we just drifted for the rest of the night and in the morning found we had only gone a couple of miles. Muz filleted the tuna and  we had the most awesome sashimi, mouthwatering.

We all set about the task of fixing Cumulus’s autopilot, although it was decided to just glue the rudder shaft coupling, I had my cordless drill, taps and grub screws but deemed not required, reckon Dave wished he had of gone the next step as he and Gay hand steered for days when the glue let go later down the track. We said our goodbyes to them as they were heading straight to Hiva Oa and we all hoped to catch up there.  We went for a dive off the end of Malpelo, crystal clear water and the deeper you went the bigger and more colourful the fish were, Moe came in which was pretty gutsy, Muz seen something big and wasn’t real keen on swimming back out to the boat so we picked him up off the rock.DSC00822 Besides the sea life there is birdlife with the cliffs being home to thousands of birds, brown boobies we reckoned. Further along the south western edge there is signs of human habitation with a large Colombian flag flying by some buildings. We just waved and headed west into a shitty 15kns south westerly. Lots of banging and crashing but bearable for everyone. Our heading was not going to help us much unless we wanted to stay in the Northern hemisphere so during the night we would drop the sails, start the Yanmahs and head due south at 6 kns, chuck some movies on, have a cook up and relax until sunrise and then set the sails and point as high as we could all day and do the same again. We had lost contact with the other boats so had no idea of our progress but it worked for us on our longest passage so far. We pretty much did this for the next couple of days but as we neared the equator the swell dropped and the wind turned to the south night and day and was enjoyed immensely by us all, we were scooting along doing 6 to 8 knots with reefed main and jib.DSC00833

We crossed the equator at 0743 on Monday the 14/06/2010, in fact we did it a few times to make sure, cracked a bottle of Moet then left Moe in charge doing a constant 8.8 knots in 12kns of wind, good westerly current now. Our Bouyweather 7 day forecast runs out today and we are amazed it is exactly right again. This is really the first time we have used bouyweather other than the daily weather reports so was really impressed with the results.

The last couple of days have gone really quick, even Malpelo seems like ages ago. In great winds and sitting on 8 knots all the time, Muz killed the batteries with the microwave but they seem to be coming good now, bloody good quiche though. We were surrounded by dolphins, hundreds of them, little dudes, we have had 4 birds flying with us since we left Malpelo, now we have 6, don’t know what they do all day but at night they fly close to the boat and catch squid and shit on the boat, if they weren’t our mates you would have got pissed off with them. Also starting to come across frigate birds as well, land is coming,DSC00860

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