Boat Life Ecuador Panama Sailing

Pacific Crossing:
Panama to Galapagos

Asa de pombo 1
Written by Renato Matiolli
This crossing from Panama to Galapagos was special in many ways. It was the first time we crossed the Equator line with the boat. Also it was the first time we just floated away for a whole day with no wind at all. Finally it was also the first time we swam in the middle of the Ocean. And in the end, we arrived in the much talked about Galapagos islands… by boat! How cool is that?

So I guess it is about time I introduce our clueless crew who helped us get there.

Crew onboard

First there was Caio, a friend from my previous work. We called him Ghini, for his cool last name Anteghini. This guy is very hands-on, effective and extremely smart. He is the type of guy you can count on anything. When he was on duty I knew I could rest easy. When we arrived somewhere he always knew straight away the top 10 best things we should be visiting. During the crossing, he learned and even thought us a lot about constellations.

Fabio profileThen, there was Fabio. He was the only guy we did not know before. We called him the wildcard. Believe it or not we received around 70 requests to cross the Pacific with us. In a nutshell, we chose Fabio because he surfs, kites and had experience in making videos. So a great buddy for me and someone to help us document the trip. At the end of the day, we barely surfed or kited, but he is putting together a kick ass documentary, you can already see the first episode HERE !! Fabio is a super easygoing person. We could have him on the boat for years. He also made Ipanema look cooler than it actually is. After all, who in his righteous mind sails and fishes wearing a well pressed shirt? After a few days we barely had any clean underwear left and Fabio was dressed up impeccably.

Primo profileFinally, there was Henrique… my cousin. We all called him just cousin” or “the captain’s terror. We did not chose him. My mom told us we had to take the beast on board. A joke with a bit of truth in it. On one hand he is an awesome doctor, intelligent, creative, fun and one of the most helpful person we ever had onboard. On the other hand he is always planning something wildly stupid to do. So when he is up to something the captain is never relaxed. Think about it, someone extremely bright, with spare time to plan stupid stuff, locked up with you on a boat, in the middle of nowhere for a long time…

So Sarah, Feijao and I, plus these three distinguished gentleman were the crew for the crossing to the Galapagos islands.

Galapagos crew

Sailing close to the equator line can be quite tricky. This crossing from Panama to Galapagos is known to have storms and inconsistent winds coming from all directions. We even know of sailors who had to turn around half way and come back. We took our chances, we decided to leave with no wind, motoring for the first few hours. It paid off, the wind picked up soon enough. Although not from the ideal direction, but enough so that we ere able to head West! It took us 8 days at sea to cover all 964 nautical miles (almost 2,000km) to reach Galapagos! Was long, but a smooth trip.

Asa de pombo 2

During the Panama to Galapagos crossing, my cousin, the doctor, decided to teach us a bit of medicine. He always has something up his sleeve. This time was how to apply an anesthetic shot. Not only that, but he also posed as a guinea pig for us. I have to admit, that it was pretty brave. Sarah first applied the shot and than pierced his ear… in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

My cousin had further plans. To celebrate crossing the equator line, he dressed up as a pirate. Go figure… well, he used the newly made pierce on his ear to wear an earring with his outfit!

Primo anestesia  Primo pirata

The day before we arrived in Galapagos we had one of those very peaceful days where everything just stands so still. I had never seen the ocean like this. And it was actually the day we crossed the Equator line for the very first time with our boat. Everyone on board was excited and we even had champagne for breakfast to celebrate!


We turned off the engines, lowered the sails and just enjoyed floating in what felt like an enormous infinity pool.


We also jumped in the water, swam around the boat and cleaned the hulls. By the way, this is a requirement to arrive in Galapagos.

Crossing the equator line for the first time is a big thing for sailors, people do different kinds of celebration in honor of Neptune, the oceans king in roman mythology.

Our crew, true to our Brazilian origins, we believe in this Goddess of the Sea, who protects us and somehow controls our destiny, we call her Yemanjá. Every now and than we like to give offerings to her, mostly in the form of throwing a flower into the ocean, to show how thankful we are and to kindly ask for her blessing.

Sarah Iemanja  Renato Yemanja

Captain Yemanja

All in all it was a pretty special day.

Sunset no wind

Followed by a stunning and super peaceful sunset.

Crew sunset

Even for the standards of our chubby artsy super star.

Feijao sunset

At night we had open skies, with no moon. So many stars that is hard to believe that it is the same sky we see in cities. We wrapped up the day with Caio giving us an amazing astrology class.

On the next day, a light breeze decided to show up and so we arrived in the Galapagos sailing, safe and sound.

Primo da Gennaker

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Renato Matiolli

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