Monday, March 31, 2008

Day 7, Monday, March 31

*click maps to enlarge view.

Yesterday they made a trip record so far of 142 nm travelled in 24 hours. Ann says they are officially 'boot scootin'.

The Cat's Paw IV has covered about 777 miles of there 3035 mile journey, they are a quarter of the way there. The Crew is putting the challenge out there for all of us to take our best guess on how many days it will take for them to cross. I will be starting a poll and the winner/s shall receive a shell from the first beach they land at in the Marquesas. Please email your guesstimates to (not sure how they plan to have the shell clear customs but I guess that problem would seem minor after crossing the Pacific.)

5 28 S 102 18 W
heading 230 magnetic
speed 5.5 knots
wind SE
time of call 7:05 mst
A poem written by Bob Shanks and text messaged to David Shanks from the

on Cat's Paw IV....part 1

I am at the helm of the Cats Paw IV

It is like I have my foot to the floor

Like a stallion surging forward stride by stride

lunging an lunging giving us a bumpy ride

We have Captain Lange and he really looks the part

with his beard and a pony tail he has start

first mate Lange also known as Admiral Ann

no matter what is happening she has a plan

Helmsman Shanks rounds out the rest of the crew

It doesn't take much to realize that he is new

There has been great talk he may be keel hauled

But after the dinner he made the order has been stalled

Once Helmsman Shanks arrived and the niceties were done

First mate Ann suggested we have a bit of fun

put on flippers a mask and a snorkel

and clean the bottom of the boat through and through

As a result the keel haul would not be so bad

Because now while being dragged there's not a barnacle to be had

We scrubbed and scraped, all the barnacles are gone
there's only a nice smooth clean surface to slide on.

Getting there, definitely getting there........

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Day 5, Saturday, March 29
*click on maps to enlarge.
Lat. 4 28 S Long. 97 53 W
heading 240
speed 6 knots
Dad called today to give the position, seems as though things have been smooth sailing.
In the last 24 hours they covered 133 miles and there speed when he called was 6 knots so it sounds like conditions have been fairly consistent. A friend of theirs, Lynn, has been doing a weather watch and forecast for them based on there reported position. She emailed this morning to say the winds are approx. 12 knots from the SE for the next 3 days and that there are no surprises out there. Good news as far as I am concerned and I am sure for the sailors as well. Until next time take care everyone.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Day 3, Thursday, March 27th, 2008

*Clink on any of the photos to get a larger and more detailed view.

position: Lat. 02 16 S Log 093 45 W

heading: 254

time: 7:10 am mountain time

As you can see they have made pretty good progress as far as sailing goes. They have been averaging a speed of 5 knots and yesterday, Wed., they made 125 miles! (I assume that to be nautical miles of course).
When Mom called this morning they where clipping along at 6 knots with the spinnaker a flyin'.
They figure they have hit the trade winds. As you can imagine she was very happy=).

overall distance to date: 229 nautical miles

*The pin points are accurate but the route that I have mapped in no way corresponds to where they have actually sailed. I just added it to get a gage of there overall distance covered to date and for our reference.

This is just to show the over all trip. The yellow pin on the far left is the approximate destination.

This map is just to show how they relate to the main land of Ecuador and also to show what beautiful weather they are having, I could use a bit of that warmth and sunshine right about now.

Again just click on any of the maps to get a larger and more detailed view.
I am using Google earth to plot there position and if you have never checked out this Goolgle application I would recommend it, very cool.

Till next time.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

To get a larger view of the map just click on the picture.

Lat 00 45.41 South

Long 90 17.775 West

Hello Friends and Family of the crew of Cat's Paw IV. As some of you know the crew set sail at approx. 11am on Tuesday, March 25th, 2008...their cross the Pacific Ocean. They departed from the Galapagos Island of Isla Baltra near the town of Santa Cruz and there destination is the Marquesas Islands in French Polynesian. They have approximately 3035 nautical miles to cover and they estimate it will take 30 days. THIRTY days in the big blue pacific are they adventurous or just plain crazy? Just joking of course, I am very proud of my parents for having a dream and then actually doing something about it. And who am I... My name is Trish and I am Barry and Ann's eldest daughter. They will be calling every other day with co-ordinates so that I can update the blog and we can all follow there progress. Mom asked me to make sure the map I posted was on a small scale so that it looks like they are actually getting somewhere so here it is.

PS I have never done any map plotting and posting before so I apologize in advance for any mistakes.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

March 22, 2008
We have been busy getting the boat ready to leave and trying to see as much of the Galapagos as we can. We weren’t able to get to any more of the islands because we had to stay aboard to make sure we got our fuel filled up, our water topped up, etc. We did go to see the giant turtles the first day we were here, then yesterday we went back to see the land iguanas. These animals are unbelievable!
One day we walked into a spot called Las Grietas. The water from the highlands trickles down and meets with the sea water which seeps through the rocks. There is a great swimming hole that is brackish water, part sweet water, part salt. The spot is only about 15 feet wide, the sides are 40 feet tall and it is about 100 meters long. We swam down to the end and stopped and hung onto the edge and watched the kids jump and dive into the water. Barry would have loved to join them but he couldn’t manage to climb up the lava walls, too bad.
Yesterday we walked along a gorgeous pathway into Tortuga Bay. The path was 2.5 km long and I was worried that Barry would hurt himself walking that far, but he didn’t complain, but then again he rarely does. We got absolutely drenched as we set out on the path, but it is so warm it was a relief to be wet. What a beach, it was the nicest sand beach I have seen in quite awhile. There were people surfing there but it didn’t look as if the waves were very good. (I am by no means an wave expert, but from the little Graeme has taught me about them they didn’t look great) There were a stand of cacti at one end of the beach that actually looked like a forest.
We rented bicycles for the day and toured around town. We checked out how the locals live. There were a number of unfinished buildings, similar to Mexico, but everywhere on this island it is spotlessly clean. They are very good about putting their trash where it belongs and recycling as well.
Today I went scuba diving again. I went out to a spot called Gordon Rocks. It is known as a world class diving area because you can see hammerhead sharks. When we arrived at the rocks, the dive master said that we may not get to see the hammerheads because the currents were not strong today and they come there to swim in the currents. It was amazing; we saw a school of about 40 of them. They were huge and quite threatening and ugly to look at, very graceful as they swam by, just a flip of their bodies and they would disappear into the deep. I felt like I was in a movie, holding on to a rock and peering over a ledge and they would appear out of the blue. WOW. The visibility is amazing here as well; you can see the bottom in over 40 feet of water. Besides the sharks we saw sea turtles, sea lions, spotted eagle rays and lots of fish. One parrot fish even had a sea urchin in its mouth; one of the other divers saw him eat it off the rocks.
Barry spent the morning at the twice weekly market buying fresh fruit and veggies for our trip. Boy was there ever a lot of stuff to be put away when I got back to the boat; it was tough finding space for it all. Barry said he could have really used my help with the shopping but I could not resist the trip out to a famous diving spot. I guess I should have picked a different day but my nose had been running so I was worried my ears would not co-operate under water. (You can tell there is a lot of guilt running around in my head) Bob arrives tomorrow and we have a little more shopping to do and then we will need to tidy up the boat and then we should be off sometime on Tues. 3 more sleeps and then the Milk Run!!!!!!
P.S. Happy Easter everyo

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

We have just had the experience of a lifetime. Last Sat. Barry decided that we should take a boat tour of the Galapagos. It is very strictly controlled area and we are not allowed to sail around in our boat and stop anywhere, you have to have a guide or take a tour. We chose to take a 4 day, 3 night tour on a motorized yacht. We visited 5 of the Galapagos Islands and had an absolutely wonderful time. Each island was a unique experience, different in a geological, botanical and animal perspective. Every place we stopped was super.
In one spot we had the best snorkel of our lives. We got to swim with PENGUINS!!!!! Penguins are known to frequent the area but the guide said that in the 3 years that he had been guiding he had never had an experience like we did. Usually he would catch just a brief glimpse while a penguin was swimming and then off they would go; but the penguins were feeding around us. When we were there we watched them fish for over half an hour. It was amazing; they would dart back and forth, turning at a 90 degree angle, on a dime, while chasing down some lunch, a tasty morsel about 3 inches long. The whole group watched in awe as they pursued the fish. When the penguins needed a breath they would zip up to the surface. They didn’t seem to care that we were there and I had several surface directly in front of my face and then I was looking her or him right in the eye. WOW, it never gets any better than this.
On the same dive we saw sharks (yes, you read it correctly, sharks) they were white tipped sharks and they would stay on the bottom and lurk about. The sharks were about 2 meters long and it was quite thrilling to see them. I was swimming after one thinking it was really exciting to see it and it was just casually moving about and then I tried to get close to it. The shark flicked his tail really, really fast and I was so scared I screamed into my mask
This snorkel was incredible. We spotted a manta ray; it was huge; a big black shape resting on the ocean floor. Then there was the sea turtle that went gliding through the group. There were also a great variety of fish. There were parrot fish, yellow tails, damsel fish, angel fish, wrasse and schools of tiny fish as well as schools of fish about 8 to 10 inches long, amazing. That was just one snorkel; we got two snorkels each day we were on the boat.
Each island we visited was very different from the others. On one we climbed a large volcanic hill; on one side there was a lunar landscape, while on the other there was a beautiful vista of sandy beaches and a striking pinnacle rock. Another island was a spot where marine iguanas hung out. We saw them swimming through the surf and swarming on to the rocks. In that area there were also fantastic rock bridges with the waves rushing back and forth through the narrow openings. Each island had a different colour of sand, on one it was white, the other red, the other a sandy brown colour. We saw lots of different types of birds, including the famous blue footed boobies. They are fantastic, diving from about 50 feet in the air. The water is so clear that you can see their path as they shoot down into the water after the fish. The guide informed us that once the boobies get older they start to loose their sight from the repeated impact in the water.
While we were on the boat we really enjoyed meeting the other members of the tour. Not one of them was the typical North American tourist, here for a week or two and then back home. There was a Dutch couple that was on a six month vacation, they had been touring South America. There were three members that had just come from six months of working in Antarctica. The Australian couple was on an extended tour in Central America and had spent two months learning Spanish in Guatemala. A 40 year old fellow of Korean descent was from Chicago and he had sold his successful dry cleaning business and headed out to Africa, England, Germany and South America. While in Africa he had climbed Mount Kilimanjaro and he had run the Munich Marathon when he was in Germany. A Canadian man was there with his teenage daughter, they had started their trip by volunteering in an orphanage in Ecuador. A young girl who had this killer English accent was actually Swedish; she had spent some time in England learned her trade and was headed back to Sweden to go to school. This eclectic mix of people made for interesting and stimulating conversation. We had a lot of fun getting to know these folks and pulling stunts such as diving off the bow sprit, which was about 15 feet above the water.
We are so glad that we decided to stop here and would encourage anyone that is thinking of taking a vacation to come here. The diversity and the uniqueness of the area would be hard to match anywhere in the world.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

We crossed the equator in the daylight at 89 degrees 37 minutes west and of course at 0 degrees 0 minutes. We had some fun while when we did it. We popped the champagne and opened the chocolate almonds and toasted Neptune the Ruler of the Deep. Of course we gave the King his share of the goodies as well. We had balloons all over the cockpit and a bunch tied to the wheel plus we had party hats. That was dumb because when we went to turn the wheel the balloons would get caught and it was hard to turn the wheel. HMMMM!! We payed our dues by tossing 500 colonies (Costa Rican money) into the ocean. We also put a message in a bottle and tossed it overboard. I wonder if anyone will ever find it??? I also shaved my head, not down to the bare skin but it is pretty short. I wanted to have it really short to cross the Pacific, it will save on water and shampoo. (On reflection it was another of my dumb ideas because as Barry says I look really butch and kind of funny. Oh well, no one here knows me and I keep my hat on most of the time.) I also made up certificates and boat cards to induct up officially into the order of the Shellback so now we are no longer Polliwogs and can really call ourselves sailors.

I marvel all the time that we are actually here in the Galapagos. It is quite different than I expected. This island has a lot of touristy stores and hotels. The harbour is filled with boats of all kinds, big boats, little boats, power boats, and huge boats. Barry and I have decided to go on a 3 day, 2 night tour of the islands. We got a last minute price and we are headed out at 1800 hours tonight. Someone will cook for us for 3 days and we will have a guide to visit the other islands. The boat is a motor sailor with room for 20 people. It should be fun. We went and visited the Charles Darwin research station today and saw the giant tortoises. it was quite awe inspiring.

March 7, 2008 Lat 07.17 Long 83.34

I would like to introduce you to our newest acquaintance. Her name is Betty Boobie, I am making a huge assumption here that she is a girl, and she is a red footed bobbie. She first came into our lives about 5 hours ago when she gracefully landed on our solar panels. We weren’t particularly happy to see her perched there; 1: because she would block some sun and 2: because she might shit on the panels and that again would lead to problem #1. We took her picture thinking she may only be with us for a fleeting moment. She let us get quite close and then as Barry moved in for the ultimate close-up she gracefully spread her wings and flew off. She is a flyer, primarily, not a soarer as are the frigate birds which are about.

ANYWAYS, she came back for another landing on the solar panels and we gently discouraged her by calmly waving our arms and talking in quiet dulcet tones to her so she would know that we truly loved her, but did not really want her on the solar panels. She did another couple of circuits of the boat and then decided that the stainless steel pulpit at the front of the boat looked like a good spot. She settled in, we were flying the spinnaker at the time and she calmly sat there and gave us her opinion on what we should be doing with the sheets to make the thing fly better, she after all has vast experience with flying.

The wind really is quite shitty out here, that is. there is none, so after poking along at 1.5 knots for several hours we decided to take the spinnaker down. Betty was a little put out that we would invade her domain and remained glued to the pulpit until I was within an arms length. She clumsily re-alighted once we had the sail put away and remained there as we motored ever closer to the Galapagos. I wonder what would be their position on a live imported boobie?????

We mistakenly thought the wind had come up a little and hopefully rolled out the genoa. This involves unfurling it from the forestay which it is tightly round about. Betty was aghast, fearfully listening to and watching it start to unroll. She couldn’t stand it anymore and after a backward apprehensive glance she once again took to the air. She finally figured out it offered her no more problems than the other beast we had up there and came back calmly and serenely alighting once again on the pulpit. She remains there still; hitch hiking her way across the waters. Every once in awhile she almost upends herself examining the water for some tasty morsel, she must be getting hungry, we haven’t seen her eat anything.

Oh well, as you can tell, DAY 2 of our Galapagos crossing is fraught with excitement and danger. I will keep you posted.

Friday, March 14, 2008

YEEHAH, we are in the southern hemisphere. We crossed the equator, communed with King Neptune the Ruler of the Oceans and FOUND the Galapagos Islands. We are currently on Santa Cruz Island, we just got here this morning. I am not going to write too much more because I am really tired and need to get back to the boat and sleep. We had a decent crossing although there were a couple of tricky bits, nothing major. We had a avian visitor for more than 24 hours and her name was Betty Bobbie, more on her later. Okay enough I have to stop before I get stupid.
WE ARE IN THE SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE, how would have though it.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Coming at you from Gofito, Costa Rica 08 37.25 N and 83 09.18W
Okay just to warn you I have had a cup and a half of coffee this morning so read at your own risk. UPDATE: we are going to leave today, the fellow looking at our radio confirmed that it is fried and that it needs to be sent to the factory to get fixed so #$%@&*, we are going to leave without the radio, at least we now know what is wrong.

It will take us about 7 days to get to the Galapagos so look for a blog about Friday March 14.

Did I tell you much about Costa Rica. It is very hilly here, everywhere you look there are hills. They do not have a standing army so there money is spent on education and universal health care. It is not spent on roads so as a result they have the worst roads we have seen in Central America, lots of them are dusty dirt roads. The one by where Trish was staying was dirt and it is a major tourist spot. Golfito was a banana port in it's past. It is no longer so the infrastructure is quite run down, all the buildings are rusty and falling apart. Golfito has a small tourist industry but cannot compete with all the eco tourism in the national forests that are to the west and north, so it is still a rundown rather sad looking place. We are staying at a cruiser friendly spot that offers moorage, internet, laundry, showers, coffee and garbage pick up as well as an honor system for a buck a beer, for $6.00 count em 6 dollars a day. The guy has lots of connections and can tell you where everything is which is a great help.

I have been researching crossing the equator traditions. We should cross just before we get to port in the Galapagos. There is Neptune the King of the Sea to be considered as well as the initiation ceremonies which involve giving some of your pay to the King, sacrificing some rum or champagne to the sea gods as well as eating some digusting stuff and getting a shower in southern seawater. Apparently this is all to take place in the minute you cross, not the next day or next hour so I wonder what time of day or night we will cross. I am going to make up certificates that will have the time and date as well as the longitude that we cross and have them printed up, then apparently we will be shellbacks (someone who has crossed the equator) and not polliwogs (someone who hasn't) anymore.

Well time to go and pull up the anchor. Until the Galapagos and then you can bow down to the newly crowned shellbacks. Wish us fair winds!!

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Right now we are in Golfito, Costa Rica. We are in the process of provisioning for our trip across the Pacific. This will be our last stop on the continent, we will head from hear to the Galapagos. Once we get there we will spend about 2 weeks there being tourists and then my brother will join us and we will head across the Pacific to the Marquesas.
Our ham radio is still not working so my Mom has offered to buy us a Satellite phone so we will have some way to contact the outside world in the month it will take us to cross the Pacific. I am hoping to send co-ordinates to my daughter and have her post them on a map and them publish them on the blog so that those of you that are following us will be able to see at what a snail's pace we will cross that great big stretch of open water.
I have been wrestling with how to go about provisioning. I could make menu's and buy food accordingly or I think I might just estimate and buy some extras of stuff we always use and be done with it. We have heard that everything is expensive in French Polynesia so I am planning on filling up the boat with as much as we can so that we won't have to buy that much when we are there. I am sure we will have plenty of food aboard. Wish me luck.
The other incident happened on the beach of Manuel Antonio National Park. We had just returned from a 2 hour walk around the park and where relaxing on the beach. We started noticing iguanas parading around in the shade. There were brown ones and spectacular looking black and white striped ones that had an orange ruff on its neck. These iguanas started posturing, holding position in one spot and then bobbing their heads. Like bob, I am the boss, bob, what are you going to do about it bob, I am the biggest and the best bob. ( I could go on and on)
Anyway they starting fighting with one another, it was quite fascinating to watch, they would charge at each other and then circle around like one big whirlwind of reptilian flesh. Eventually they would either get tired or one would get a hold of the other at the back of the neck and hang on for awhile, presumable trying to disable his enemy.
At one point, one of them scampered up a tree just behind me, soon after his attacked followed suit and they were ready to go at it, 12 feet in the air on a narrow branch. As they were almost directly about me I got up to step away so I could get the best view of the action. Sure enough they attacked and were scrapping away and then they fell off. WHAP, right on the ground, 12 feet straight down, good thing I had moved they would have just missed my head YIKES!!! On the ground they were a little stunned, they weren’t hurt though and one guy raced off and the other started bobbing. Bob, see I told you I was the best, bob, bob, want to go at it again, bob, bob!!!!
Walking on the ferry, no guard rails, just wood.

Two separate interesting incidents have happened in the last while. We took the ferry into Puntaranes. Barry marveled at the simplicity of the loading of the cars onto the ferry. They would put a wooded gangplank from the dock onto the ferry and the cars would drive across this. This wooden gangplank had no side guard rails. When they attached it to the ferry there were about 7 or 8 planks at the end of the plank that were not attached and they would just spread them out to cover the distance from the dock to the ferry. The plank had to have a way of going up and down because the tide levels would fluctuate and when the ferry would arrive it would be higher and lower than the last time it had gotten there. The gangplank was raised and lowered by a system of pulleys that could be manipulated by hand, a big come along system, no fancy hydraulic push button system down here.
The loading of the ferry when we got on was not a problem, the gangplank was lowered, the extra planks at the end were distributed evenly and cars and people went off and on without a problem. The same thing at the other end in Puntaranes, no problem. When we returned to where we had originally got on the ferry, there was A PROBLEM. As we got closer we noticed that the gangplank was at a very odd angle, one side was really high and the other was way too low. The whole thing was sitting at about a 90 degree angle. There were three guys standing on the dock trying to get it to work. It looked like one side of the come along had failed. A big hook on the end of the gangplank had to reattached to the end and then they had to haul up the one side of the dock. These poor guys, one was in bare feet, had to haul the side that was down.
Something is wrong with this picture!
It took them about ¾ of an hour of brute strength hauling to get the dock even. Meanwhile on the ferry everyone just waited patiently for the gangplank to get fixed. Once they got it even they attached it to the ferry and off the cars drove. No engineers to certify that it was correct, no beaurocrats to sign off on the work, nothing to ensure it was safe. I wonder how the first guy to drive off felt!!!