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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Day 4, Galapagos to Marquesas

141 nm made good, all sailing. 2477 miles to go.

Other than a ship off in the distance and two fishing boats we haven't seen anything out here but sea and sky. One of the fishing boats came to within 1/4 mile - to get a good look at us we guess. We weren't comfortable with how close they were getting so John furled the jib and we sort of hove to. As they crossed our bow we could see every member of the crew lined up on deck to wave at us! Quite a heartwarming sight, but they still gave us an anxious moment. We've lost VHF radio contact with the other two boats closest to us, but one of them has SSB radio and we can monitor their position during the two nets. We'll be losing the Panama Pacific morning net shortly as we get out of range of most of the net controllers who are in Costa Rica, Panama, and Bahia de Caraquez. But John continues to run the Pacific Passage net every evening for the handful of boats who are still making this run. One single hander who left Panama around the beginning of May (Nick on the vessel Val) is finally about to make landfall in the Marquesas. He had a horribly slow time getting south of Panama, just drifting in the light winds and foul current. Since he wasn't making a fuel stop in the Galapagos, he wasn't motoring at all. We'll be happy to see him finally get in safely to port. John joined the roll call of the Pacific Seafarer's net last night. This is a HAM net run by land based people all over the Pacific and the U.S. to keep track of underway vessels. It allows us to talk to people who are very far away from us, and John had nice chats with Carina and South Moon.

In my last post I neglected to explain to the non-boaters out there that normally our quarter berth (and this is true of most boats we know) is used as our "garage/attic" area for storage. But our sleeping berth (a pullman style bed mid-ship on the port side) is too large and open for sleeping underway so we have to move things from the quarter berth to the pullman, and throw all our pillows in the quarter berth where we won't get tossed around as much (especially on port tack, which we are).

Ziggy seems to appreciate the difference between John's style of night watch versus mine. When John is on from 1800-2200 Ziggy knows it's open season on flying fish and squid. If it lands on deck, John usually lets him eat it. So Ziggy spends most of that watch out in the cockpit with John. When I come on at 2200 we have a little look around from the cockpit but then he knows it's time to go below and go to bed. He remains alert to the slightest noise, and I know he's not really sleeping, but he will mostly stay in bed even when I go outside for visual scans of the horizon at 15 minute intervals. If he does hear something land on deck, he's up at attention and headed for the open companionway. If it's a flying fish, I've already heard it too and can catch up to him to attach the leash to his harness. I swear he knows to wait there for the leash, and he also moves a bit more slowly when he's in the harness as it acts as a bit of a hobble. If John has already let him "catch" anything to eat, then I usually try to get the flying fish to go out the scupper. I was using the fishing gaff for this but then I had John open up a wire coat hanger for me instead. It's less cumbersome, less valuable (if I should lose it overboard), and it has a longer reach. While still tethered to the cockpit (me, as well as Z.) I can reach up the side deck with the hanger to guide the fish as the water slides it towards me, and gently slide it out the scupper. (If there's enough water on the side deck to land a fish, than there's enough water left to send it back into the ocean.) Ziggy is perplexed for awhile but eventually he accepts the fact that his fish has disappeared and I can coax him below again.

Our weather changes by the hour and regularly goes from clear and sunny to completely overcast with occasional (very) short bursts of drizzle. So we sometimes have blue sky and dark blue seas, but mostly it's been gray sky and darker gray seas. Which is nice for staying cool during the day, but I miss seeing the stars at night. We've had a couple of night time visits from dolphins, but now we only see petrels and a shearwater occasionally during the day. We have seen no more swallow tail gulls in spite of all the flying fish and squid available. We're very happy to be making excellent progress and are keeping our fingers crossed to keep this pace up most of the way.

Linda and John