May 04, 2006

T-Shirts For Sale... Finally.

*If you´re reading this it means that I set this post up correctly to appear automatically. We're still sailing and hopefully by now, clear of the Galapagos Island and well on our way to the Marquesas. The Internet is a wonderful thing.

Shirt - Close UpINTERNATIONAL WATERS - Since the inception of this site, there have been requests for me to make T-Shirts available for sale. I'd considered it before but realized quickly that I wouldn´t be able to manage selling t-shirts from dingy little 3rd world Internet cafes along the way. Postcards are difficult enough. Still, I kept the idea stored in the recesses of my mind as something I'd do one day; I'd even gone as far as putting up a dead link on the horizontal navigation bar called 'shop' with the idea that I´d get around to it sooner or later. Of course, anybody who's ever clicked that link would have found nothing on the other end... until now.

With the help of my old roommate, Jon we can now sell T-Shirts. He´s done the leg work along the way and will take care of anybody wanting a t-shirt.

We've decided to go for quality over quantity. At the price of $30 CDN per shirt, I can't even afford one. The reason for the price is simply a function of the cost to us. We've committed to using only the highest quality shirts along with tough, well done custom-cut fuzzy iron-on lettering. The logo won't wash off and the actual shirt should be good for at least a couple trips around the world. All our shirts are made by American Apparel, a clothing manufacturer notable for it's insistence on being sweatshop free.

If you´d like more detail or to actually buy a Shirt for yourself click the 'Shop' button on the menu.

May 02, 2006

Galapagos - French Polynesia (Marquesas)

Takin' Off (From The Stern)GALAPAGOS, ECUADOR - We've been here now for 6 days; long enough to see some sights, make necessary repairs and re provision the boat. Today we sail for the Marquesas Archipelago, a remote part of French Polynesia famous, in recent history, as being the site for the 4th series of Survivor on CBS (you know, the one with 'Boston Rob'). At 3000 nm (5600 km), this will be the biggest stretch of Ocean we´ll encounter on our trip around the world.

The Pilot Charts suggest that we´ll have fair winds and following seas the entire way. These are the Pacific Trade Winds, said to blow consistently all year round. The latest Weatherfax is supporting what the Pilot Charts are saying. For the foreseeable future, wind from the Southeast at 20 knots; Perfect.

At approximately 100 nautical miles per day, it´ll take us 30-days to reach the Islands. This of course is only a guess as I have yet to see the boat sail downwind and there is a chance of being slowed by doldrums which sometimes appear near the equator. We could be faster and we could be slower. Expect us to arrive anywhere from 25-35 days from now (My guess - June 2nd)

Our length of time of course means that there will be a large time between posts on this site. To help maintain continuity, Brian and I have composed a few articles that should appear here automatically while we sail.

For now though, it´s so long once again for we sail today, shortly after lunch. While it doesn´t seem as significant as the leg from Panama to here, it's a big step, geographically speaking, on our trip around the world.

The road is life can no longer be taken literally, for the next 30-days el mar es nuestra vida.

May 01, 2006

Diving The Galapagos

North Seymour (SCUBA Diving)GALAPAGOS, ECUADOR - While Brians attempts at 'dancing' underwater with a pair of sea lions were made less than graceful due to a thick wetsuit and cumbersome SCUBA gear, I kept cranking neck to keep an eye on the small cave, less than three metres away, that housed no less than four white tip sharks. They say they´re harmless but, I´m not exactly sure who 'they' is and in my eye these sharks looked menacing enough to warrant at least some of my attention..

Lacking the colourful coral of Honduras and Panama, the diving we´ve done here in the Galapagos isn´t without it´s excitement. It seems that everything here is big; freakishly so. The wildlife here is in your face and unafraid. At times it seems as though the various species compete for attention. While sharks swim lazily by, a couple sea turtles will barge in front of your line of sight only to be obscured by a giant school of small, dark fish moving like a cloud and reducing visibility to a couple inches. Not to worry though, the sea lions won't leave you out of sight for long, you can expect them to chase everything away in order to hog your attention with elaborate circles and playful dances.

It's another world; it´s one that I can´t show you. Most other divers carry waterproof housing units for their cameras. I don´t. Partly because I lack the means to buy one and partly because I lack the space in my backpack to carry one around. Sure, It'd be nice to photograph some of the spectacular things I´ve seen at 60ft under the sea, I´m sure I´d appreciate it years down the road. For now this newly discovered world will have to exist solely in my memory.

April 29, 2006

Caption Contest

GALAPAGOS, ECUADOR - The guy in the red shirt is Brian. Anybody who's ever met him can attest to the fact that he´s not a small guy. I can´t imagine how much this turtle actually weighs.

April 27, 2006

The Galapagos Archipelago

GALAPAGOS, ECUADOR - Last night, as the sun was set over the Galapagos islands, Seal Lions and Giant floating turtles welcomed our boat to the village of Puerto Ayora where we promptly went ashore for a celebratory meal and drink.

On my map of the world, it´s obvious that this first leg, is a very small step across a very large ocean, but I can´t help but feel that this landfall is more significant than the miles suggest. There is no turning back now, we´ve taken that first giant leap offshore.

As far as having fair winds and following seas though, we´ll have to wait until we break from here toward the Marquesas with the trade winds. We faced headwinds nearly every single day as we muscled our way down to the equator and we weren't without our share of mechanical challenges along the way. Including overheated engines and blown starter motors. Nothing we couldn´t handle.

There were moments of aching boredom and moments of terrifying excitement, the most memorable of which cumulated in me having to climb the main mast (55 ft) to fix a jammed halyard. This is something that can be unnerving in the best of conditions; in the middle of the Pacific I was faced with the added difficulty of a rolling and bobbing boat, which of course is amplified at the top of the mast. It was as if she was trying to buck me off. Brian, being the heavier of the two of us, was left on deck to man the safety rope, jealous and defeated.

269 nautical miles from any land we were approached by a small fishing boat. Alarming to say the least. Instead of pirating us, they traded four big squid for a pack of cigarettes then quickly motored out of sight. I forgot to ask where they were from and have no idea how they´ll make it home. They were in a boat not much bigger than a standard 14ft tin runabout. No maps, no GPS, no radios. Strange.

There were other moments of adventure but I feel I´m rambling already. For now we´re looking forward to what is billed as the wildlife experience of a lifetime, a first hand lesson in natural history set in this barren, volcanic land where Charles Darwin formulated his theory of evolution.

*The batteries on my camera are dead. I´ll post photos as soon as they´re recharged.