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Sunday, May 11, 2008

Day 6, Ecuador Passage

0600 Sunday, May 11

Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers reading this!

We had a bit of excitement Saturday morning when we started hearing whistles and odd cries. I thought it was birds (which shows you how out of it I am!), but John leapt up and ran on deck to find three guys in an open panga waving at the fishing gear they were frantically pulling in so that we wouldn't run over it. This was the first boat of any kind we've seen since we left on Monday. They were sooo nice, all smiles and waves, as we quickly rolled up the jib and started the motor to avoid the tail end of the long line. John asked how many days they had been out fishing and they told us 15 days! And this is over 200 miles from the nearest land. We passed over some cold Cokes, and decided we'd better quit feeling sorry for ourselves at that moment.

Ziggy had us worried after refusing food and water for over 24 hours, even turning up his nose at tuna water (drinking water with a little water from a tuna can) which he's never passed up before. I finally got him to take some of it in the afternoon, after which he actually got out of bed and ate a few bites of his kibble. He took a cautious walk around the boat, and I know he would like to play, but the motion is too rough and he has nothing to hang on with. We'll keep trying the tuna water and hope that the seas flatten out enough for him to perk up.

We took showers while we were motoring and not heeled over sailing. It was still a little bouncy but that's what the seat and grip rail are for. We are obviously in the Humboldt current now because our tank water is cold again. We are so disappointed not to have been able to watch that temperature transition on the fish finder, and will have to get it fixed before we go back north to Panama this winter.

After consulting our bird guide, "Seabirds" by Peter Harrison, we're fairly certain that the new birds we've seen on this trip are the masked boobie and the swallow-tailed gull. We've had up to 10 of the latter birds follow us at night to fish for squid attracted to the glow of Nakia's running lights. Ziggy sure knows when one of those little squid (only up to about six inches) lands in the cockpit. Last night he managed to sneak by me with one in his mouth and carried it into the cabin. I feel terrible about taking them away from him, but I'm not sure an entire raw squid is good for him, and I really don't want to find out when his stomach decides it isn't...

The past couple of nights have been cloudy with only a few stars visible now and then but last night was clear until 2200 with clouds only low on the horizon. We'd hoped to take one last look at Polaris (the North Star) but it seems we've seen the last of it until we return to the northern hemisphere next year. Polaris is just too close to the horizon for us to see above the clouds. We had some sun in the afternoon yesterday, but it was overcast and grey the rest of the day. This has meant cooler temperatures (79-81) which has been nice for a change. A few more sprinkles but no serious rain, and just some overhead cloud lightning at night.

Distance traveled: 89 nautical miles
Distance made good (towards our destination): 78 nautical miles
12 hours motoring, 12 hours sailing

Linda and John