Pacific by kayakWind: none
04-Mar-2012, 421nm to go to the Galapagos
While we had light winds suffcient for slowly sailing on a close reach from midnight last night to about 1500h this afternoon, the air hasn't moved around us since then. An opportunity for Nana to inflate the kayak and paddle around Namani in the open Pacific. For the rest of us the chance for a little swim call to cool off. The water temparature is significantly warmer than it was close to Panama and there is increasingly more moisture in the air as we move SW - so things start to feel truly tropical again. No convection so far but this will likely change as we get closer to the ITCZ (which has been stubbornly stuck just a bit south of the Equator).
Slow but beautifulWind: very light out of the SE
04-Mar-2012, 470nm to go to the Galapagos
After slowly motoring through a dead calm through most of the day and the first part of the night we pulled the genoa back out at midnight when a hint of a breeze picked back up out of the SE. We are now sailing very slowly on a close reach under full main and barber hauled genoa over a moonlit Pacific that looks like a duck pond - absolutely beautiful! Otherwise, we had a relaxing day. Got checked out by a US Customs and Border Protection aircraft (see picture), giving us two low passes before deciding that we weren't Colombian drug lords and dissapearing in the distance. Earlier today everyone aboard got a bath (it's Saturday!) in Nicky's old inflatable kiddy pool. We put it in the cockpit, fill it with a few buckets of salt water and then rinse off with a bit of fresh water, before repeating the procedure for the next person. Now that would have been a sight for the CBP folks... Our daily routine includes a radio check-in in the morning with the Panpacific Net on 8 MHz and a radio chat later in the day with some other boats under way: Astarté, whom we met in Portobelo on the Atlantic side (Markus line-handled for them through the Canal), Avatar, whom we hope to meet in the Galapagos, and Azimuth (headed for the Ecuadorian mainland, Easter Island and Pitcairn - we may cross paths with them in Tahiti). Now it's time to get the latest weather forecast - let's hope those winds will pick up a bit and stay! All is well aboard, stay tuned.
Third night outWind: none
03-Mar-2012, Turned the corner, now with direct course to Galapagos
At 1500 local time yesterday (Friday, 02MAR) we passed about 40nm east of Malpelo Island (Colombia) and turned the corner for a direct course to the Galapagos. The wind had been perfect up to then but started to slowly die soon thereafter. The Intratropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ, "the Doldrums") had dropped below the Equator for a few days but is moving up again now. With us moving south we are fast converging.... After wallowing around for 9 hours we have started up the "iron sail" (i.e. our good old Beta Marine engine) at 0300 and are now motoring at just above 5 knots. If forecasts are right, light winds should set in again in a couple of days, and will hoprefully allow us to sail again on a close reach. All is well aboard, stay tuned....
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