Episode 63 of The Sailing Podcast is with Chuck and Linda of SV Jacaranda and their website is www.jacarandajourney.com. We first heard from Chuck and Linda in Episode 41 as they told us about sailing down the west coast from California to Panama and Ecuador. Now they update us on sailing from Ecuador to the Galapagos Islands and on to the Marquesas and French Polynesia.
Chuck and Linda were briefly back in the US visiting family over Thanksgiving, so we took advantage of some great internet access to find out what they had been up to. Their first travels were to inland South America while their yacht, Jacaranda, was safely moored in Ecuador. After this they sailed west and into the South Pacific.
During the interview we hear about:
- How cheap and safe the travel was in South America
- How they used an agent to help get their clearance documents organised
- Getting visas organised for French Polynesia is easier done in Panama versus the US
Sailing to the Galapagos and French Polynesia
In our last interview with Chuck and Linda they were anchored in Panama, just outside the Panama Canal. During the interview we hear about their experience of being line-handlers for some friends heading through the Panama Canal. This is a great way to experience the Panama Canal if you are not taking your own yacht through. Yachts are expected to have several line-handlers in addition to the pilot so you can volunteer to assist someone and get the whole Panama Canal experience. Chuck and Linda even managed to catch up with some old acquaintances, ‘Hippos Camp’ as they were anchored in the lakes overnight. I did have a search around for information on the yacht Hippos Camp although it looks like they keep a fairly low profile. If you have some contact information on them please let me know.
If you would like to get the chronological list of Chuck and Linda’s travels just visit their website and check out their ‘Passage Notes’ section.
We heard about their passion for visiting places where they can observe and enjoy the indigenous culture and I believe they said Bolivia was a wonderful place to experience this. There are plenty of notes and beautiful pictures capturing the colours of their South American adventures on the website.
Our conversation turned to their trip to one of the places on my own bucket list – the Galapagos Islands. From Ecuador they sailed to the Galapagos and were able to enjoy 5 weeks of exploring. The interesting piece of advice for sailors was that visiting by yacht is not always the best way to see the Galapagos. This is due to the restrictions on harbors you can stay in and while a yacht seems like the perfect way to visit the islands, it might be better to take advantage of the tour operators in the area instead. The tour operators have access to many places that you cannot visit in your own yacht. This doesn’t mean you should sail past the Galapagos, just that you might need to budget for some tours to truly experience all it has to offer.
A 5 week stay is the luxury afforded to the sailor because you can enjoy your ‘home’ while you visit and travel around. From the Galapagos we heard about the sail to the Marquesas, in French Polynesia. The trip included some cross swells and a damaged wind-vane rudder. At least the post-passage amnesia kicked in and Linda felt the trip went well, despite having to rely on the electronic auto-pilot.
The plan is to spend an extended amount of time in the South Pacific and Chuck outlined some of the strategies required if they were unfortunate enough to encounter a hurricane. The risk is there because they are in the southern hemisphere during the summer months. The typical hurricane season is from November to March although the Marquesas would be generally thought of as outside the zone. With the onset of the El Nino in the Pacific comes changes in the traditional path of the low pressure systems and Chuck shared some of this thoughts on how this could effect their travels.
I really enjoyed hearing from the Jacaranda crew again. Don’t forget to check their ‘Other good stuff’ section of the website if you are looking for information on obtaining a long stay visa for French Polynesia as well.
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Thanks for listening to David and Carina Anderson of ‘The Sailing Podcast’.
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