Getting ready for a long trip
08 April 2012 | Galapagos Islands, Isla San Cristobal Wreck Bay
Kent and Katie are expected to arrive in a couple days. We have a scuba diving trip to kicker rock scheduled for Monday and then we will have seen the Galapagos and it will be time to move on. But before we leave, we have to "hang out" and get to know our neighbors. Last night we suped with SV Island Fliing (Carol and Des from South Africa, 3 years enroute), SV Vergo's Child (Terry and Elaine from Australia, 12 years enroute and headed home) and SV Impiana (Andy, Terry, Curt from Australia most recently sailing from Malaysia enroute home). I'm spelling out these details of our social calendar to illustrate the changing nature of our community. The sailboats and crews are taking on a much more worldly flavor than we had in Mexico.
Yesterday we looked at the GRIB files for our trip. Grib files are a wind matrix that shows sampled wind data at intervals of about a degree over a rectangular area of the ocean defined by a request sent to Saildocs, a data service for mariners. We can order and receive this weather information via the single sideband radio while enroute. How's that for WONDERFUL? The GRIB files show a wind hole around the Galapagos that will last for the 10 day duration of the forecast. The closest path to wind is to go south to about 9 degrees latitude, then west to the Marquesas. Our destination, Hiva Oa, is at 9.5 degrees South Latitude. Since a degree is about 60 nm, that is a minimum motoring experience of about 480 mi (just to begin the trip under sail!). There is hope that we might pick up the edge of the trade winds at 6 degrees (a distance of about 300 nm). Closer than that it depends on the ITCZ (basically thunderstorm activity). If we were to go west from the Galapagos initially, the wind hole extends almost a thousand of miles. The distances we are talking about suggest the scale of this crossing. We have to find the wind. We are listening to the Pacific crossing net (on 8.188 MHz each morning) to the boats that have already left. They're finding very light winds as predicted but are managing to move their boats slowly under sail, so we can still hope for enough to move our boat at least part of the time in order to work our way south to the dependable wind. One boat has turned back due to engine difficulty. Of course, the Galapagos is not exactly a repair facility so his problems are just beginning. This is a BIG ocean where you are dependent on the reliability of your vessel and crew.
The last few days we have had sun and the solar panels have been meeting our electricity needs. Oh, how nice it is. Karen is making daily trips to the store so as to restock the boat. We do it incrementally so to minimize the amount of weight we have to move between the store and Panta Rhei. Also, many things require "processing" after purchase. We freeze the flour to kill the bugs and we soak the vegetables in a weak clorox solution and we repackage things. There will be a final buying binge before we leave...mostly fresh vegetables. When you add up the meals, our overstocked boat doesn't look so overstocked.