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Michael & Edi have headed out on a slow, thorough exploration of the globe.
Galapagos Passage Day Six
30 April 2010 | 409 miles southwest of the Guatemalan coast
In the late morning the breeze had begun backing to the southwest and by 1230 it was in the 7 to 8 knot range, moving us along at around 4 knots on a course of 145 under spinnaker alone, and steered by the Hydrovane. We were finally moving again, and at 1308 we sailed onto our first South American chart.

We started the afternoon on a beam reach, gradually changing through broad reach to run as the breeze veered again to the northwest and filled to around 10 knots. Our 1800 fix showed us making good just over 4.5 knots for the afternoon, and by sunset at 1942 we were moving in the 5 knot range, ringed by towering cumulus all around the horizons. The metre-high seas were becoming confused, likely from a couple of systems merging, and combining with the 2 to 3 metre southwest swell.

As the near-full waxing moon rose at 2115, we were moving along in a 10 to 12 knot west-northwest wind, still on a starboard tack under spinnaker alone and steered by Hydra. The wind's veering had caused me to keep adjusting Hydra to keep us on our course to the Galapagos, but now we were at the limit on this tack, and Hydra began nudging our course up a tad to keep the sail from jibing. I had wanted to sail 5 degrees below the rhumb line course of 150 to make up some of the eastings we had lost our last couple of low wind days. With the west-setting current through the Galapagos, I want to make landfall from the northeast.

Through the night we continued under the bright moon at 4.5 to 5 knots on a wind-dictated course mostly a tad above 155. The sun rose at 0711 to show towering cumulus and alto-stratus at the eastern through southern horizons. The wind had recently backed to northwest and Hydra was again steering 150 and a bit below.

Shortly after sunrise I flashed-up the generator, started the watermaker and Edi put in the first of two loads of laundry to finally clear our backlog. In three hours we made another 208.5 litres of water, bringing the total for the trip so far to 10.5 hours and 789 litres. This is all on filter set B, which the condition gauge shows to still have many hours of production left before needing cleaning. The last in time I used this filter set was in the anchorage at Las Hadas, when it gave us only 17 minutes and 14.7 litres before clogging and shutting-down the machine. Its previous run to that was also in Las Hadas: 48 minutes and 51.2 litres. This certainly speaks loudly for the foul water in Las Hadas.

While the machinery purred quietly below we enjoyed breakfast in the cockpit. Edi had made some fruit compote by using a hand blender to macerate dried apricots and dried cranberries into nice thick pastes. This went wonderfully with cream cheese on our toasted bagels and baguettes. The compotes were simple and delicious, and without all the added sugar and whatever else found is in commercial preserves, I am sure much better for us.

The 30th of April is a significant day for me. After eighteen years of service I resigned my commission as a Canadian naval officer on 30 April 1981. My intention at the time was to buy a boat, fit it out and sail off over the horizon. Another significant 30 April for me was in 2006, when I told my ex-wife that a quarter century had passed and I still wanted to sail off. That conversation led to our separation and divorce and to my ordering a new boat that spring. The third significant 30 April was in 2008, when Edi sent me an email response to my online ad on a British site looking for crew.

Our noon to noon run was 114 miles on a course of 155 degrees, just five miles shy of the total of our two previous day's runs. Our total runs on this passage are now 530.4 miles and we are 610 miles from our landfall in the Galapagos. By the end of day we should be at our half-way point, and we hopefully have our slow days behind us.
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