Sunday, March 16, 2014

Passage to Galapagos - Day 2

Sent from Sea on Day 2 Weather: [Sunny, dry, hot, hazzy, cooler at night (need a t-shirt)]

Sailing conditions: [Downwind, making good speed, but we only expect this great wind to last another day before dying out, we managed to fly the big light wind sail (the spinnaker) most of the day yesterday)]

Food: [Chinese noodles in peanut butter sauce, sandwiches]

General Comments: [Lots of dolphins joined us yesterday and we also got a whale sighting. As we left the Perlas Islands we sailed through masses of Pelicans, the fish don't stand a chance! A full(ish) moon makes for fun night sailing too]

Progress: so far we've made [158] nm on this passage and have [922] nm to go. Last 24 hours we made [153] nm.

Additional information after the fact

[Kyle]We would have just left Contadora in the dark but the channel separating it from Isla Chapera to the south and leading into the Gulf of Panamá was shallow so we wanted a chance to be able to see the bottom as we crossed it. The engines were off before 6 O’clock.

The tropical sun rises steeply and was soon glaringly bright and blazing hot, that and the excitement of starting a passage had me surprisingly awake. I helped Maryanne deploy the spinnaker, it caught the big winds and pulled us fast out of Panamá leaving us little wind left over in the sweltering cockpit.

As we passed the last of the Perlas Islands, Isla Pedro Gonzales and Isla San José, huge flocks of pelicans came out and escorted us, swooping around Begonia in graceful turns. They would approach fast from downwind, make a low turn around the front of the spinnaker with their inside wing tip just off the water, then pull up into the headwind, appearing to hover right alongside the boat. A couple more flaps for altitude and it was time for another circuit. There was 100’s of them, all doing this at the same time in different directions. They followed us for a couple of hours and never made a peep.

Dolphins escort us from Contadora, and Kyle has to clear the first of many fishing lines on this passage

By midnight we were over 100 nautical miles from the nearest land and still moving fast. It wasn’t until late on the second night at about five degrees North that we lost the wind completely. The sails became so useless that Maryanne eventually just pulled them both down rather than watch them flop back and forth in the left over swell. I came on watch at midnight at the beginning of the third day, the wind returned briefly at about half of our fist couple of days. This allowed us to get another 75nm or so further south before it died again in the middle of the night at about three and a half degrees North.

On the fourth day, the highest wind we recorded was a single puff of six knots, mostly it was less than two. It took us from midnight until seven in the morning to cover our first mile of the day. By nine in the morning we were at two miles, and by the time we finally saw that six knots of wind, it was 9pm and we had only covered 13 miles for the day. The last three hours brought our total distance for the day up to 25nm, but those last 12 hours were sailing upwind and perpendicular to our desired course in winds that were now coming from the Galápagos.

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