The Galápagos To Port Townsend
Antonio Moreano, our naturalist guide and a friend from previous visits, remained with Whale Song for the 300-mile northward trip to Isla del Coco, Costa Rica. He had something to show us. Late on the day we arrived, as the sun dimmed behind the western horizon, we donned scuba gear and slipped in. Our dive lights lit up the white-tipped dorsals of hundreds of sharks milling around. Though bunched tightly, they swerved miraculously to avoid collision; only rarely could I feel the silky touch of a tail.
With more than 4,000 miles north to reach Port Townsend, Washington, for the annual overhaul followed by a cruise of Alaska and a hop to Japan, Whale Song wasted little time lingering. Still, we roamed through Panama’s Isla Coiba, once a prison island and now a national park of virgin forest with howler monkeys, sloths and curassow birds, and then crossed the Hannibal Bank to see billfish jumping and swung into Bahia Rincón and Golfito, Costa Rica. We hugged the beach through the Gulf of Tehuantepec to avoid getting nailed by the notorious storm-force winds. After fueling in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, I expected to hit rough water. It came a little later than on my previous trips. The north-northwest wind muscled up to 25 to 30 knots soon after Drake Bay, Point Reyes, California. Black-footed albatrosses wheeled through sea troughs, and Dall’s porpoises rode the foaming crests. Whale Song traveled with less grace. The seas, high and steep, pounced on the bow and swooshed up to the pilothouse windows for the next 300 miles. We were glad when we reached Port Townsend for a rest and repairs.
Around the World Aboard Whale Song
Part Two: From Antarctica to the Philippines