Cruising Panama to Galapagos

Galapagos - Posted On

30th. March 6:30am - it’s time.

Engine runs, anchor is lifted up, covered of smelly mud, Jsea’s propeller pushes us through the Pacific water. We turn our back to Panama, America, and leave right toward the great Blue.

Once Taboga Island passed, we shut down the engine, lift up the white wings, wind is 12 knots, and we are on!

Crossing to Galapagos will take us 7 days. They will be kept as a very good memory.

We get to know and live together with John and Sher in this very special context of sailing. Life is not comfortable in a sailboat, sleeping long enough is impossible and nerves get challenged quite often. Added to that we have to deal with others way of life, ways of reacting.

But from the beginning we will deal with this very well altogether. John and Sher seem to be way out of the usual people I usually get along easily. But we do get along very well as a matter of fact and I am even surprised how easy it is!

John teaches us everything he does so that we can act better on ourselves. I like very much this as I am really willing to learn sailing.

My Ocean trip is not only about crossing on a “no petrol consuming” mean, but also a good opportunity to learn something I feel I like very much. Sailing has been part of my whole childhood’s books and adventure story. Jules Verne especially is the one who introduced me to this great world of adventure.

We get to see dolphins, sea birds so far from any shore, flying fishes, beautiful sunsets and sunrises, wonderful starry skies at night. I also get to fish a small red tuna, delicious.

Unfortunately wind is really low. We are crossing a wide part of the ICTZ, equatorial area with no wind or very light. Navigators do not like this area but we had no choice but crossing it.

John makes the choice of motoring most of the way. Of course it does not match with my philosophy and my rule of “no-petrol” for going on. But I see this as captain’s choice first, and that I made everything I could not to use any, meaning choosing a sailboat was the least damaging way I could get to cross this part.

So, I will say I made my job, motoring is not my decision, and as a simple hitchhiker, it would have made no difference when I would have come or not. John would have motored anyway. Therefore I consider this as not being my responsibility and worst case; this would be part of the inescapable exceptions of my travel.

Very bad news for me when the very first day of the trip, my computer crashes. Just like that, all of a sudden it shuts down, tries to reboot and reboot forever.

I fear the worst, having lost pictures and videos. So that I will not use it for this part anymore, ‘wait and see’ says Sher.

Fact is I made myself a firm promise to use the free time on sea to write about my travel these very lines. Family, friends, sponsors are giving me a good pressure to get back “on track” on my website.

It is true that this modern window on my trip is the only link I have with those who believed in me to do it. And therefore it is important to update it a bit seriously… thanks to all those who still follow the adventure through it by the way.

Night watches are divided so that I have from 4am to 6am, from midday to 3pm and from 9pm to midnight. I find it quite hard the 3 firsts days but then it’s OK, body and brain get used to it.

On the 5th April, at 2am, John wakes me up.

“-Olivier, we are passing the Line!”

Equator line is very close now. Sher is awake as well; we are having a little party in the middle of the night for the event.

It is the third time of my travel I will pass the line, latitude 0°. As for a game we challenge ourselves to strictly follow the line steering manually, GPS on it maximum zoom for best judge of our accuracy.

All of us are having hard time, manual steering to follow a line on the GPS is quasi impossible. I find a good solution by looking away to a far star in the sky. Then I get slowly westward a little more south or more north depending on which side of the line we are. At last, here we are, following exactly the line, port side in the south hemisphere, starboard side on the northern hemisphere.

I have a strange feeling of getting conscious of the all planet around. As if knowing I am in the right middle of it makes it possible to imagine this huge sphere finite.


On the following day, looking far away in the midst horizon line, I recognize the shore of Santa Cruz, one of the main Galapagos Islands.

At 1:15pm on the 5th. April, we anchor in Academy Bay harbor ready to explore the mythic Galapagos Islands.