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Michael & Edi have headed out on a slow, thorough exploration of the globe.
Galapagos Passage Day Nine
03 May 2010 | 404 miles north-northwest of the Galapagos
At 1215 in a southeast breeze of 7 to 8 knots, we hoisted the spinnaker, un-socked it in the lee of the jib, rolled-in the jib and moved along on a course of 105 at 5 knots powered by the spinnaker, the staysail and the main and steered by Hydra. The breeze started gradually dying, and by 1320 we were becalmed. This is the first time since I tangled the sheet in the propeller that we have been becalmed in the daylight in relatively calm seas. I rigged safety lines while Edi put on her flippers, mask and snorkel and slipped into the water to take a look at the situation.

Sequitur was surging up and down in the slow swell and light cross chop left over from yesterday's storms, and she got a few scrapes from the barnacles on the Hydrovane rudder - we'll have to add anti-fouling paint to it next time we have a chance - and she was slapped and banged around by the bottom of the hull a few times. She reported one loop around a propeller blade and a twist around the shaft. She took a camera down and shot some photos for me to analyze, and then she went back down with a boathook to try and pull the line free. After several attempts and a boathook donation to Neptune, she went back down with a knife, and later with another boathook, and then with the knife again.

While we were sitting becalmed, a line of towering cumulo-nimbus was marching down on us from the west. Finally at 1520, with the fouled lines cut as short as she could manage in the increasing surge, Edi came back onboard. I then flashed-up the engine and gingerly slip it in and out of ahead and astern a few times. Things seemed to turn ok without any weird sounds. I put our stern to the approaching storm cells and began motoring away to the southeast as they approached.

Shortly, the relative winds increased to between 10 and 15 knots from astern and I used the Hydrovane to steer us away on our best course. As we motored at 2000rpm, I tracked the storm cells on a radar overlay and plotted our best way through their advance. This went on until 1911, when we were finally clear of the last of the cumulo-nimbus towers. We hauled-out the main and jib and shut-down the engine. We sailed along to the southeast in the dying winds, making about 2.5 knots.

At sunset the sky was 8/10 overcast mostly with alto-stratus studded with cumulo-nimbus towering over the horizons. Shortly before 2100 we tacked to follow the veering breeze, which was now from the south, and we sailed to the southeast on a close reach. The breeze continued to veer and abate through the night, so we bent our course around to our destination course of 150, and then gradually moved the wind around toward our beam. By dawn we were on a beam reach in a southwest breeze of 5 knots, and making about 2.5 knots.

With the sunrise at 0707 we could see the portents of another unsettled day; the sky was 9/10 overcast with alto-cumulus and alto-stratus showing through the few gaps in the cumulus and nimbo-stratus. At 0754 we rolled-in the main and jib and hoisted and un-socked the spinnaker and wafted along in the 5 to 6 knot breeze making 2 to 3 knots on a course of 150 steered by Hydra.

While we enjoyed another wonderful breakfast of toasted bagels with cream cheese, capers and smoked wild BC salmon and mugs of fresh coffee, I ran the generator and watermaker to bring the house battery back to 95% and the water tanks to full. Our worst set of filters from Las Hadas, the set that had given us 17 minutes there, has now given us 17 hours, and is ending each day in better condition than on the previous.

Shortly before noon another series of towering cumulus was rapidly marching across the horizon toward our starboard quarter, so we dowsed the spinnaker, but left it hoisted and rigged and lashed on the foredeck. We rolled out the jib and were pushed along the side of a passing storm cell using its localized 15 to 20 knot winds.

Our noon position showed us to have made 60.37 miles from the previous noon for a total of 745.76 in daily runs. We are now 708 miles from Acapulco on a bearing of 150 degrees and our landfall in the Galapagos is 404 miles on a bearing of 153.
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