Strange Encounters Near Galapagos
Published: 2006-02-07 23:17:59
On March 17 2004 a ship of about 30m approached us, sailing yacht Sancerre (37 ft) a day after our depature from PUERTO BAQUERO, SAN CRISTOBAL. The ship stopped 200m behind us and a tender with 5 men on board came towards us; when it was close one of the men shouted "Agua" and showed an empty jerrycan. The sea was flat calm and we were motoring. We gave them a gallon of water and some cigarettes which they asked for. One of the men spoke to us in Spanish after asking our nationality (French) and our destination (Marquesas). Then they left (to our great relief); the ship had no name or nationality visible, and as they were approaching they did not respond to our requests for an explanation. Does anyone have an explanation for this strange visit?
J Audeon, s/v Sancerre.
German Yacht Nis Randers had a similarly strange encounter on May 27 on position 02°16N 082°48W, with a fishing boat which became entangled in the yacht's trailing fishing line. The yacht managed to make radio-contact with an American Coastguard vessel, who took this incident very seriously, immediately altering their course to their position. An hour later the fisherman appeared again, now approaching from the port side. The Germans waved friendly, but no response. Then, they showed their portable VHF shouting "American Coastguard" pointing East. The visitors immediately changed course and set off with high speed from where they came. Their account (in German) can be read on their webpage as well as a photo of the fishing boat: http://wirhauenab.de/a/tagebuch/2005/mai_05/27.html
They also write on another place that one of their friends were "visited" a couple of weeks earlier in that area, but they were able to outrun the "visitors" by high speed. It is a shame that such a popular leg between Panama and the Pacific now seems to have a major piracy threat.
Leon Schulz, S/Y Regina
From: Michael Sullivan
Last season we left Equador on the first leg of the passage across the Pacific in our 34ft sloop Tacks. However before leaving we met a German Cruising yacht that was on its second circumnavigation. they did warn us that we would encounter many fishing boats of different sizes on the first leg to the Galapagos most of which would close our yacht looking for water. We were advised to carry as many 5 ltr bottles of water as possible, in order to supply any aproaching vessel looking for the same, thus avoiding contact and a possible boarding. This proved to be the the best piece of advice we had in our 4 years of cruising. The second day out we were approached by the first of several boats all asking for agua. As they came close, having the water ready to hand we were able to toss the bottles to them wishing them luck with their fishing and bearing away at the same time this tactic worked so well, that although feeling very vulnerable at times, we also felt that we were in charge of the situation once the water was asked for.