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Little Green Boat
Spruce left Australia in July 2015. We cruised through Indonesia and arrived in Malaysia at the end of October 2015. Until February 2016 we cruised Malaysia and Thailand. Now we are doing some land/air touring to see a little more of Asia.
Wild & Windy Ride.
01/Feb/2013, 249M from Perlas - 635M to Galapagos

The wind steadily increased through the night; before dusk the direction came more astern, we stowed the mainsail in favour of twin-poled-out-headsails. A much easier rig to reef in and out single handedly without waking the off-watch crew member. By dawn we were running in just over 30 knots of breeze, more than comfortable and more than the 24 knots forecast. To top off the thrill and distance covered factors the current has been with us at up to 3 knots; a river within the ocean moving immense volumes of water around the planet. As these rates the ocean currents create a degree of surface turbulence which has made the seas quite confused at times. A few hours of a near gale and the seas built quickly to around 4-metres, by this afternoon the breeze is down to 21 knots, already the seas are reducing. Overall we have covered almost 200 miles over the ground in the last 24 hours. The wind is expected to die to very light tomorrow so it is gratifying to have put some miles under our belts early in the passage.

Only a few sea birds seen today and we haven't towed the fishing lines, landing a catch while rolling might prove hazardous. Less than sixty miles to our turning point near Isla Malpelo, if lit and the light is working we may see that towards midnight. Photo shows the view over the stern while sailing at around 8 knots with a lot of wind from astern, the hydrovane wind vane steering is keeping us on course.

News & Updates
02/Feb/2013 | ray warman
Just love that wake, could watch it for hours.
02/Feb/2013 | Keith and Welly
Great photo of the wake though it is impossible to truly capture the height of the waves isn't it. How are you sending this stuff whilst at sea ? Is it via the SSB or have you got some fancy satphone set up ?
Dolphins, Rays and Tuna.
31/Jan/2013, 51M from Perlas - 821M to Galapagos

Ruffles on the water showed a zephyr approaching from the West. Initially only a breath of wind, but it grew to a mild 8 knots just ahead of the beam and we were sailing. Gentle long swell from the South-west beckoned us towards the ocean, occasional swirls in the water the only indication of the current pushing us on our way. Interim target is the Isla Malpelo some 300M from Las Perlas Islands, a Colombian territory en route to getting ourselves into the equatorial current, which we hope to ride the whole way to the Enchanted Isles.

A lovely first day at sea. Good progress, a comfortable motion, sailing on a broad reach. Many birds were with us for the first few hours: shearwaters, gulls, boobies, petrels. These have now petered out as our distance offshore has increased. During the earlier stages a number of the somersaulting rays performed. These were much larger than the ones seen at Contadora but the same species. A pod of dolphins came to play around the bow wave on several occasions, unable to decide whether we were going fast enough for fun. Evidently not, as they chose to zoom off towards the horizon. A sextant sight at noon put us within a mile of our known latitude, the skills are rapidly honing back to an acceptable standard.

Our fishing lines trailed dejectedly astern until we reached the edge of the continental shelf when a member of the tuna family obligingly broke our Pacific duck and allowed himself to be hauled aboard. No surprises as to the menu at Chez Spruce this evening.

News & Updates
01/Feb/2013 | Andy
Have a good trip - just remember us in the rain and snow.....
Anchor up and Underway.
31/Jan/2013, East of Isla del Rey - Islas Las Perlas

All to plan except the minimal amounts of wind, not as per forecast. Hopefully we'll get the expected 12-23 knots of breeze from NNW as the day progresses and we get away from the islands. Until then a couple of hours of slow motoring while the ebb helping to carry us clear of dangers.

News & Updates
Fond Farewells.
30/Jan/2013, Isla Canas - Islas Las Perlas

Black sand sprinkled in a thin coating across the beach; slightly finer than the more yellowy grains below. Sweeping tides surging across the strand has sifted the lighter particles on to the surface. Specs of something shiny glittered from within the dark layer, teased to life by the morning sunshine. The complex geological mixture of mud stone, limestone, igneous and metamorphosed rocks gives rise to quite a variation from beach to beach. Our last stroll ashore in Panama. Since we first sailed into Panamanian waters, at the end of August in 2011, a cornucopia of sights and sounds have bombarded our senses. The memories tumble into our thoughts as we prepare to leave tomorrow: the Darien coastline and her brooding rainforest; Kuna and Embera indigenous peoples with their traditional lifestyles; crumbling Spanish colonial architecture; awesome deluges of tropical rainfall; torrential rivers hurtling from within the mountains; bustling cities both vibrant and noisy, also struggling with adopting modernity; the Canal transit, an amazing project that reached fruition as technology caught up with human imagination; babbling markets and, finally, these splendid islands of Las Perlas, indeed a wild string of pearls dangling from the Isthmus of Panama.

News & Updates
Almost Ready to Go.
28/Jan/2013, Isla Canas - Islas Las Perlas

Still looking good for departure on Thursday morning. Should be sufficient wind for the first 250 miles or so then it is likely to peter out with a patch of fairly calm weather. Hopefully there will be some help from the equatorial current and not too much use of the iron-topsail, before a hint of the trades appear from the south, to allow some close reaching (wind from about 60 degrees off the bow on the left hand side).

The water temperature has dropped remarkably during the past few days. The El Nino effect is felt every Christmas time along the Peruvian, Ecuadorian and Colombian coasts. Early in the new year the normal flow of the cold Humboldt current is re-established, unless it is an El Nino year when the warm flow continues and weather across the US and Europe is affected. This year the cold current has returned in January indicating it is indeed a normal (non-El Nino) year. The trade winds in the Pacific should be fair and the cyclone season should have finished in French Polynesia by the time we arrive at the end of April.

A more local effect of the cool water is that we gasped when entering the sea to give the underwater sections of the hull a brush off before our departure. A long wet-suit and 50 minutes below was more than enough to be very shivery. Hull, propeller and keel are now clean from the light weed, host of shrimps and few barnacles that had taken up temporary residence.

Preparation of food for night watch snacks, baking of bread and moving items from deep storage to readily accessible lockers is underway. Tomorrow will be for stowing the coastal cruising paraphernalia, before a dawn departure on Thursday and our first Pacific ocean-passage of some 900M.

News & Updates
30/Jan/2013 | Shane and Ali
Bon voyage Sprucettes! Fair winds and we'll be following your progress with avid interest (and a touch of envy). Love and hugs.
No Lo Tengo!
28/Jan/2013, Isla Canas & Pueblito Ensenada - Islas Las Perlas

A decision made to remain at anchor here until we depart for the Galapagos... the favoured day is Thursday. Meanwhile a minor move further along the south coast of Isla Canas to a more sheltered spot, not before making a short detour to the local village and some shopping at the tiende. Unfortunately, not a well stocked day to visit, approximately 90% of our hoped for list of items was "No Lo Tengo!" (I don't have it!).

The anchorage is picturesque, aren't they all around here. Crashing waves tumbled onto the craggy fore-shore, great clumps of rock pointing their fingers seaward at the incoming Pacific swell. A brief dinghy ride to a nearby beach gave a stroll and a look at a couple of caves, one inhabited by a few bats in the higher clefts. Those on the outer fringes shuffled deeper into the recesses as we entered, peering accusingly at us as we peered back at them. Many shells lay along the shoreline, new shapes and sizes, some are very thick with ornate encrustations and pinnacles, it all seems to indicate Pacific predators are adept at getting through what we consider a normal size of defences. The change from the Atlantic coast with little tidal range has introduced many new shelled creatures to our beach combing. A short stop of movement while on the strand and all sorts of things begin scurrying about their lives. Almost every gastropod shell contains a hermit crab. Holes in the sand disgorge ghost crabs, almost invisible against the grains of the beach but so fast. The balls of sand scattered around are their work between tides as they forage for food.

Only a few more chores to be finished before we set off. Thursday is looking like the day to go with the best conditions for a reasonable wind. Our last day will be spent stowing the boat for sea. Not enough wind will be more of a concern than too much ... but when sailing the oceans blue we always prepare for the worst and hope for the best.

Photo shows the work of a single colony of ghost crabs.

News & Updates

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