It’s currently late morning on the 26th March and we can see the Island of San Cristobal about 6 miles off the port bow. It’s our seventh day at sea (I think) since leaving Las Perlas and the wind has been very much on our side. This passage is notoriously slow with large areas of the route having little or no wind and most boats are often left with only two options: 1) bob around in the same spot for days on end, or 2) start the loud and, at least in our case, unreliable motor engine. It looks like our passage will take a total of 7 and a half days, but it could have been twice as long if the winds lived up to their reputation. During our entire passage we only had to motor for 24 hours and we took in all sails last night and bobbed around for the night whilst we slept. Otherwise we’ve been able to sail beautifully, frequently making 7 knots and we’ve been able to reset the spinnaker this morning for the final leg of the journey. In fact, Bob made 165 miles over a 24 hour period during this passage – her all time personal best.
We caught 3 and a half oriental bonito fish on the first day. We caught 3 whole ones (which were filleted and stored for future dinners) and also reeled in only the front half of a fish as something large had eaten the other end! That same night we had dolphins swimming under the boat. Rather than playing at the bow they seemed much more interested in diving underneath the hull. The moon was almost full and the dolphins were lit up well as they jumped out of the water. You could even see them under the water as the phosphorescence made them glow like faint green ghosts floating just under the surface. They kept us company for a long time and I could hear their calls from down below for hours after I had gone to bed.
We crossed Neptune’s realm in the early hours of yesterday morning and we celebrated our arrival in the southern hemisphere by using up the last of our breakfast ingredients to have a really good fry-up. It was a wonderfully drunken day doing Neptune’s bidding, but unfortunately I’m not allowed to talk about it, in fact, I’ve already said too much…
As the winds and seas died down late yesterday afternoon, we decided to take in the sails and go for swim. It was wonderful to cool off and also a good opportunity to clean the hull in preparation for the Galapagos officials. It’s part of entry requirements to have a clean hull and we’ve heard from others that boats are often sent away from the islands if their bottoms are not spotless. Given that we were almost 60 miles away from land and in 1200 feet of water, I was surprised by the sea life here. We were in the water for less than an hour and I saw a small tuna and some transparent free-floating marine organisms which I think were comb jellies. They look a bit like jellyfish and are often mistaken for them. Rather than being dome-shaped they are oval or pear-shaped and are usually very small. There’s a small group of them known as platyctene ctenophores which look like transparent flatworms which I also saw around the boat, not to mention hundreds of minute shrimp living in any vegetation growing on the hull.
We’re just making some fresh water at the moment and I’m just about to head on deck to do some laundry. It’s calm enough to hang out and it should be bone dry before we hit land later this evening.