Sunday, May 20, 2007

May 20, 2007 - Enroute to Galapagos

In the past 7 days we have covered approximately 700 nm to make 500 nm towards the Galapagos. Our boat speed is averaging less than 5 knots beating into the wind and seas. Frankly, if we could figure out how to walk on water, we'd get there faster walking than sailing at this pace. Phoenix, which is about the same LOA as Mata'irea, but is lighter and faster, made landfall at Isla Santa Cruz today. We don't expect to be there until Friday, at the earliest. The pace is frustrating, but at least we've both finally adjusted to the motion and are feeling fine.

The skies continue to be overcast. We haven't had this many consecutive days without sun since we left Newport. The cool weather is a nice change, but surprising this close to the equator. It feels more like New England in October than the tropics. We're both wearing fleece. Since heating up the cabin isn't an issue, we had clam chowder and made chocolate chip cookies yesterday.

We spent most of yesterday drifting along in 8 knots of wind. At one point the wind clocked around so that we were going almost due north in very light air. Since we aren't trying to go to Hawaii, we decided to motor for a while but the engine wouldn't start! Sten tried it again later and it started up no problem. He thinks the starter got badly abused when the engine had water in it last fall. It has been a little fluky for a while, often times requiring a voltage boost from the generator to start, so he's adding changing the starter motor to the work list. Luckily, we have a spare starter on board.

Sten saw a whale spout about 200 yds off the port bow late yesterday afternoon. He called me up on deck and I got to see it spout twice as well. We didn't see fins or flippers and the spout wasn't a distinct shape so we couldn't identify the type of whale. We haven't seen dolphins or fish (other than the flying fish that we find on deck) for days, so it was neat to see some marine life again.

During my watch last night the wind built up past 20 knots again. So Sten came up on a deck and helped furl the genoa, raise the staysail and reef the main. Afterwards, we moved more slowly with less canvas up, but the motion was much more comfortable.

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