Galapagos Passage Day Twelve
06 May 2010 | 32.85 miles east of Isla Darwin
At 1215 we finally came clear of the line of storm cells that we had been working our way through for the past sixteen hours since it began crossing our path. We were still motoring because it made much easier our task of weaving among the cells and their constantly changing, and often very strong winds close-in and the areas of near-calm between the cells.
As we cleared away from the influences of the last of the storm cells and motored south-southeast into the tower-free waters, we were heading straight into a 6 to 7 knot breeze, which seemed to be blowing directly from the Galapagos. Our options were to slowly tack our way upwind, or to continue motoring. We chose the latter. I set-up the Hydrovane to steer us within 5 degrees of dead upwind and we relaxed for the first time in a few days.
The wind continued to blow from the south south-east through the afternoon and we continued to motor into it and its generated waves as the skies became near-totally overcast with stratus, strato-cumulus, nimbo stratus and cumulo-nimbus. The few gaps in the lower clouds were filled by the bands of cirrus and cirro-cumulus. Toward sunset the nimbo stratus had dumped most of their weight and were trailing off as stratus-fractus, allowing gaps of blue sky to emerge. Towering cumulus still accented the horizons. The temperature at sunset was 31.2 degrees and the barometer was at 1011 and slowly rising.
Hydra steered us through the night as we continued to motor directly into the wind, gradually having to crab port as we entered a west-setting current. By sunrise we were crabbing 10 degrees to maintain our course. Shortly after 0800 we entered a line of storm cells about 5 miles deep and experienced torrential downpours, steep and confused seas and 15 to 30 knot winds during much of the 44 minutes of our transit, most of which was hand steered. We passed out the other side and into gradually dissipating steep and confused seas.
Our noon position on our twelfth day place us emerging from the doldrums with a day's run of 114.2 miles and the total of our daily runs is now 1079.06 miles from Acapulco. The most northerly of the Galapagos, Isla Darwin is 272 degrees 32.85 miles away, and I suppose that now we are into their latitudes and beginning to thread our course through them, we are officially in the Galapagos, though we still have a couple of days to go to our anchorage.