Day 3: in the doldrums!
21 March 2013
We are currently 3 days out of the Las Perlas Islands, heading south from Panama on our way to the Galapagos. We're making a southern dog-leg to stay in a favourable south-bound current and in the hope of picking up the west-bound arm of the Humboldt current to help us towards the Galapagos Islands, when we turn right towards them in a few days. There are also supposed to be fairer winds a bit further south. No sign of them yet though.
This is a new one for the Great Ship - clear sky interspersed with periods of muggy overcast and mist, long periods of calm, light breezes now and then from random directions and a flat, oily-looking sea. Classic doldrums conditions. We're obviously worried about cabin fever given slow progress and the 900 mile passage looking like it will extend to 15 days or more. We are not carrying enough diesel to make motoring a sensible proposition, so are having to make best use of the wind whenever it appears. However, so far, we are enjoying living at sea on a completely horizontal and steady boat. Feels like a catamaran, only thinner!
We couldn't get a reply from any of the Galapagos ship agents which you have to use to get clearance to stay in the Islands for a tourist visit. We'll try again when we get closer and they may want our money more: there are outrageous charges for harbour dues, clearance fees, agent fees, national park fees, rubbish disposal fees and a whole list of other stuff, so they should be keen to start milking us. We'll just have to smile and pay, to be able to see the amazing wildlife. This landfall will be one of the highlights of the trip and is a moment I've always dreamed about, so we're planning to try not to let bureaucracy spoil it. We'll see what first contact with the agents brings!