"Mister Toad's Wild Ride"
11 July 2008 | 13 17.0'S:082 26.0'W, The SE Pacific...883 mi SSW from the Galapagos Islands.
Hi, Here is Dale's "newsletter" (with a few small edits)!
Please feel free to write to us at this email address. It is better if you start a new message rather than hit "reply" , and thanks for all of your communications......but please - no attachments or pics!
While a smooth, glassy surface over the ocean is beautiful to see, it is not a sailor's delight. The last two days have been almost void of wind and we are motoring at a lower RPM to conserve fuel. The Commanders Weather forecast is for fair SSE winds starting tonight. These are supposed to last through Monday. We will be delighted by that as it will be a great spinnaker sail because the winds will be behind us. Hopefully, it will happen soon.
The smooth seas do, however, have their up side. Yesterday we were treated to the incredible sight of a pod of 6 pilot whales. They followed us for about 20 minutes diving down and surfacing, blowing water out of their blow holes. I took some great pictures of them that I will send from Santa Cruz, Galapagos. ?Marine mammals bring with them a sense of awe that is not diminished by the number of times a sailor is fortunate enough to see them. This was Alan's first time seeing whales, but their effect was equally wonderous for us all.
The autopilot is working well now ? at least keeping ES on a compass direction rather than sailing towards a waypoint - and we are getting much reading done as sail changes are not relevant at this time. We have had some squid commit suicide on the decks, a few birds resting at night and many different types of birds swirling around behind the boat. There is always something to fix on a delivery like this, and this time, it was the spinnaker halyard.?
The first day we flew it, after three hours, there was visible chafing on the halyard (the line that hauls the sail up the mast for those of you wondering what a halyard is). My guesstimate is that the mast is around 70 ft high. ?When flying a sail that has such force behind it, we check often with the binoculars to see how things are looking at the top of the mast. We put a piece of fuel line around the part that was chafing, but it was too fat to fit through the shiv(pully). After closer inspection, it was definitely coming from inside the mast, not outside. The only solution to that is to rig another halyard outside the mast. This is a simple task, one that requires someone going up the mast in a bosun's chair (a small canvas seat that is pulled up to the top of the mast by an unused halyard), and one that is much easier accomplished in port. I offered to go up ?and got half way there when I had to admit that my legs were not strong enough to wrap my self around the mast. Soooo...once again, rather than swim with the sharks, Ness conquered his fear of heights and went up. Of course the boat was moving with the swells and the higher he got the more the mast swayed side to side. It was quite a ride- "Mr. Toad's Wild Ride?! This, for our Chilean friends is a hectic amusement ride at Disneyland that shakes you all around. Not a fun thing in the middle of the ocean while clinging to a mast and carrying tools.
All's well that ends well, and the mission was accomplished. We got to fly the spinnaker for the rest of the day and are waiting patiently for the opportunity to do it again.
Alan has perfected his tortilla making skills and is the exclusive creator of those on an almost daily basis to accommodate our fish stash. Now that we are addicted, they are excellent vehicles for butter, cinnamon and sugar, peanut butter, cream cheese and just about anything else you can think of. Tonight they will most likely be Italian style with grated parmesan and olive oil to accompany our pasta dinner. ?We have been enjoying some amazing different soups and hope that soon it will be too warm to want them. The fresh veggies are nearing the end but don't worry, we will survive.
Making sun tea has been entertaining and Alan has taken over most cleaning chores until it gets warm out and then he and Ness can fight over who gets to swab the decks. Ness loves that job when it is sunny. When the weather and winds are like this, the meals are fabulous and the boat sparkles---we are looking forward to multiple sail changes, the mainsail raising and lowering resemble a Chinese fire drill. (for our Chilean friends, that is a ridiculous teenage pastime that consists of a bunch of kids driving in a car and when they stop at a traffic light everyone gets out, runs around the car and gets back in before the light turns green) Sounds like fun, but it does resemble putting up and taking down the main sail.
We were noticing that the sunrise was getting ridiculously late, so we changed our clocks one hour back?. Which will be Galapagos time. What a power trip to be able to control time for our own benefit !
We are currently off the coast of Peru and glad not to be stopping for fuel. Who knows what that would be like!
That's about all for now...hope you are enjoying the ride along with us.