Saturday, March 27, 2010

And the winner is....

Well....seems like there are a few betting types among our blog readership. So here are the results of our "Guess our ETA" game.

Actual arrival time in San Christobal: March 27 at 2:45 am

Your guesses:
March 24 at 11 am - me
March 25 at 5pm - Mark
March 25/26 - Rusel Clan
March 26 at noon - My mum and dad (14.75 hours from actual)
March 27 no time - John (??)
March 27 6pm - Sooh (15.25 hours from actual)
March 27 in middle of night - Diane, Evan and Maia
March 28 in evening - Jacob and Julia

So it was a very close race, but it looks like my mum has just edged Sooh out of the running!! Go MUM go!!

Next round (and chance for redemption) will be from Galapagos to Marquesas...stay tuned.

Mexico to Galapagos - Day 25 - We've arrived

[Mar 26]

Total Distance: 2113 nm
24 hr Distance: 54 nm (DMG: 49)
Distance to go: 0!!
Lat/Long: 0°53.77'N / 89°36.91'W

We finally arrived at 2:45 am after a very long day. It was touch and go for most of the day as we sailed into a headwind, hoping to be able to get a good angle towards San Christobal, our destination. We almost turned downwind towards Santa Cruz, to beg for fuel there. We didn't - only because we weren't sure if we'd get hampered by officialdom, as this was not our pre-arranged point of entry.

In any case, our fuel situation was dire. Our guage was showing a little over a quarter tank. But our tank is shaped like an inverted triangle (pointy side down), so we knew that there was less fuel in the bottom 1/4 of the tank, than in the top 1/4...we just didn't know how much less. So we did some measuring of the tank and the fuel level, and converted cubic inches into gallons and discovered that we only had 6 gallons left. Not the 10 gallons we were hoping for. We guessed that would give us at most 25 miles of motoring to the finish line.

So we sailed. We pushed hard until there was just not a breath of wind, and we started to drift further away from our destination. We turned on the motor reluctantly, because we were more than 25 miles away. Sheesh.

But, needless to say we made it. Our speed slowed to 3.5 knots for a terrifying hour while we bashed into the remaining swell and current, but after a couple hours, we were able to go five knots, and made it into harbour at 2:45 am. We had an almost full moon to guide us into the harbour - you may remember that we left Mexico with a full moon - almost FOUR weeks at sea. We used harbour waypoints provided by SHE WOLF in the Equador Cruisers Guide, and they were spot on. We were surprised to find at least 25 other boats here. We dropped our anchor at out outside edge of the anchorage, and fell into a well-earned rest!

Some interesting notes about this passage:
- point to point distance was 1650 nautical miles. We travelled 2110 nautical miles. Lots of upwind sailing.
- our digital charts for this harbour are right on - not what we expected, but we're very pleased
- Overall, our average trip speed was 3.7 knots. This does not include the times when our speed was 0.
- total passage: 25 long days

Friday, March 26, 2010

Mexico to Galapagos - Day 24 - Land Ho

[Mar 25]

Total Distance: 2009 nm
24 hr Distance: 79 nm (DMG: 51)
Distance to go: 87 nm
Lat/Long: 0°22.83'N / 90°02.20'W

When I awoke for my morning watch, we could see land in the distance!! Hurray!! The crazy part is that we lied alongside this small island ALL DAY!!

I forgot to take our noon position today. But it didn't really matter. When I finally took it at about 6pm, I figure I was only a mile or so out from 6 hours previously!! We spent the whole day abeam to Isla Genovesa, a small island in the Archipelago. We didn't see another boat all day. We had glassy, smooth seas, and by mid-morning, we brought down the sails and drifted for the day. Once again, we are so close...yet unable to reach our destination.

We had motored through most of the night - but the opposing currents and swell were working against us, and we didn't make as many miles as we hoped. In any case, we still need to do some more sailing before we can "put the hammer down" (thanks, Mark) to the finish line!!

If you know John, you can well imagine that he goes a bit cuckoo, when confined to a small space, going nowhere, with nothing to do. So today we came up with more projects to do while adrift. And the best thing we've done so far, is to crank up the computer and watch a bit of TV!! With our solar panels pumping out the amps, we took shelter from the sun in the cabin and watched the first two episodes of a BBC documentary on the South Pacific. It was fabulous, with incredible cinematography. If you're able to track it down, we highly recommend it.

At 8pm, the wind stirred, and we were able to fly the spinnaker, which finally pushed us away from the island, even if only at 2 knots. Needless to say, we didn't cross the equator today...maybe tomorrow. Sigh.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Mexico to Galapagos - Day 23

[Mar 24]

Total Distance: 1930 nm
24 hr Distance: 98 nm (DMG: 93)
Distance to go: 131 nm
Lat/Long: 1°12.89'N / 90°12.27'W

We covered a lot of miles in the last 24, but it was mostly with the motor. We're getting closer, but the wind is not cooperating. Looks like we're in light, variable winds for a few more days yet.

Today we passed one degree of latitude, only 60 miles from the equator. So, sometime this week (!) we will be transformed into the realm of SHELLBACKS - or mariners that have crossed the equator. I expect that we'll skip the tradition of getting a tatoo...but you never know!! We're planning our crossing party, and what celebratory offerings will be made to Neptune.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Mexico to Galapagos - Day 22 - Sailing Again!

[Mar 23]

Total Distance: 1832 nm
24 hr Distance: 68 nm (DMG: 68)
Distance to go: 229 nm
Lat/Long: 2°25.39'N / 91°08.83'W

We motored this morning in a flat calm for a few hours. But by early afternoon, the wind picked up, and we started sailing at 1.5 knots, until the wind filled in and gave us a fabulous ride at 6.5-7 knots!! We were too happy to be making good time, to worry about reefing the sails!! The breeze stabilized, and we had great 5.5 knot sailing for most of the afternoon, and all through the night. We haven't had such great sailing since our first day on this passage, as we left Banderas Bay!!

At one point in the night, we found ourselves in the midst of a nasty squall and we were pleased that we were able to use the radar to find the quickest route out of the lightning. Even our old radar will tell us where the rain is falling, and give us a sense of how far away it is, and how deep the system is. guesstimate of our ETA was tomorrow...the 24th. And we're obviously not going to be there. Looks like Dom will arrive before us after all!!

We hear that there are a few folks in La Cruz following the blog. For those of you embarking on the puddle jump (or the Hawaii-jump), here's a few things we wish we had more of:
- we found fabulous shredded beef/pork (can't recall, and have tossed the package), at the MEGA in the canned meat/fish aisle. It comes in vaccuum sealed packages and is really very tasty. We wish we had bought more of it.
- POP...neither of us normally drink a lot of pop. But in this heat, we're loving having some cold pop in the ice box.
- VEG - wish we had brought more veggies with us. We're out of all our fresh veggies. Even onion or potatoes would be a welcome addition.
- EGGS - we ran out after only two weeks. And eggs will keep a long time, if you keep turning the cartons. We eat eggs almost every morning, but we really enjoyed having a stash of hard boiled eggs handy for night watches/snacks/etc.
- CANNED FRUIT (peaches) - we never eat these at home...but they are awesome quick food for breakfast (note lack of eggs!), and if you store a can in the ice box...they are refreshing too!
- FANS - we have two on board. Thank goodness. If one of them died, we might have a crew mutiny. One of ours is a power pig...but it doesn't really matter. During the heat of the day, when you need it most, there is tons of solar power being generated.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Mexico to Galapagos - Day 21

[Mar 22]

Total Distance: 1765 nm
24 hr Distance: 52 nm (DMG: 34)
Distance to go: 287 nm
Lat/Long: 3°18.12'N / 91°52.35'W

Three weeks at sea. Are you kidding me?? If you had told me that a month ago, I would have laughed. And here we are.

We're becalmed in a sea that is a smooth as glass. We motored for a couple hours this morning (sanity saver), and now we're just drifting along. Our spinnaker is hoisted, but really isn't helping much. In fact, it is so smooth, that John is doing some sanding and varnishing of the brightwork. It's all I can do to try to stay out of the sun. Without a breeze, the heat is devastating, and we are constantly 'glowing' without even expending energy.

UPDATE: The wind filled in and we ran at 2-3 knots all afternoon, and then at 3-4 knots into the evening. We didn't take the spinnaker down until 3am, when the wind died, and we were forced to drift for a couple hours.

We must be getting near land. We're starting to see garbage in the water, we've seen more ships, and a couple of new bird species have shown up.

OK...the betting has begun, and guesses on our ETA have started to trickle in. I think I should have mentioned that we still have about 20 gallons of fuel left. That gives us about 20 hours of running, which could be about 100 miles. If you need to change your ETA, feel free!!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Mexico to Galapagos - Day 20

[Mar 21]

Total Distance: 1713 nm
24 hr Distance: 99 nm (DMG: 89)
Distance to go: 322
Lat/Long: 3°43.18'N / 92°15.27'W

We've become accustomed to squalls with violent rain, but that are short in duration. Today we had crazy rain all day - and no wind. And...we lost a fish.

We have 300 miles to go. But only enough fuel for about 180 miles. So we drift and hope for wind. We're now using the motor as a sanity saver. Just as we get to the point where we can't stand to be bobbing around for another minute, we turn on the motor, and run for a couple hours. It provides some comfort to see us moving in the right direction. Although, it looks like our friend, Dom, may reach the Islands before we do!

At least I get a chance to redeem my very poor yahtzee results. Perhaps with more time, I can even up the score.

PS...if you didn't read yesterday's post, you should know that we are running low on minutes for our satellite phone, so please do not panic if you don't see a blog post from us for a couple of days.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Mexico to Galapagos - Day 19 - Betting

[March 20]

Total Distance: 1614
24 hr Distance: 91 nm (DMG: 49)
Distance to go: 357 nm
Lat/Long: 3°38.25'N / 93°42.59'W

Another day with not much to report. We're getting closer, which is fabulous. Not fast enough, which can be frustrating.

We contine to marvel at the tenacity of the Boobies. They have been out here in the middle of the ocean consistently for the past few weeks. They regularly make circles around the mast, deciding how and where to land. Sometimes it will be just a solitary bird, and other times, there will be a dozen of them playing along, diving at the fish that travel with us, and the tuna lure that we trail behind. John has been shat on. Our mast indicator is now damaged. Boobie poo decorates our sails and deck. SO...boobies aren't our favorite anymore. We often contemplate the best way to scare them off without damaging the boat. In case you're wondering...fireworks is not a good solution. As the screeching device rockets up into the air, the first mate also tends to shriek, in fear of putting a hole in our sails!! John latest solution is paint balls flung from a slingshot. I think a super-soaker might be more appropriate.

We've also seen a small little bird that flies low to the water, is quite quick, and doesn't stick around for our identification program.

We started gambling today. We've taken bets on our arrival time. I won't tell you our ETA's just yet, in case you'd like to play along. Go ahead and write your best guess of the date and time of our arrival at San Cristobal in the comments section below. The prize will be very elusive bragging rights. The data above should be enough to get you started, as well as the data on previous posts. You might also be interested to know that our
overall trip average speed is 3.8 knots (nm/hr). But of course....this is a sailboat, our speed, and our direction, are dictated to us by forces unseen....

PS...we're getting low on minutes for our satellite phone. Please don't
panic if you don't hear from us for a couple of days.