April 27, 2012-Galapagos Passage, Day 19
3 degrees 34' N, 91 degrees 17' W: Drifting. We've spent most of the last fourteen hours under enormous rain clouds. Now we can't tell which of the inky black blotches on the radar are rain clouds and which are squalls. Isn't that special? Luckily for us though, the squalls seem to be thinning out and we seem to be traveling mostly through rain. One thing we have figured out is that radar can only penetrate so far through the rain. A large rain cell on the radar looks like a donut, with the boat in the clear area of the "donut hole" in the center. The boat is surrounded by the chocolate icing, or rain, equidistant from the donut hole in 360 degrees. On radar, it looks like you will get out from under the rain cloud in 2…6…12 miles (or whatever scale the concentric rings on your radar are set to), but you never do. More icing just appears as your boat moves ahead.
Traveling. Moving ahead. If you can call what we're doing that. Sail in the blinding rain (mostly on course today---hooray! ---the wind has shifted direction.) Take down all sail and drift because the wind has died. Wait for wind. Take a nap. Motor through the driving rain to find some wind because drifting is taking us backwards instead of at least partially towards our destination. Sail when the wind comes up until the wind dies. Repeat.
During our first torrential downpour early this afternoon, we had a reef in the main. We caught at least ten gallons of rain in the excess fabric at the bottom of the sail in about five minutes. Every so often, when the boat rolled, the water came pouring out the tube formed by the folded up sail and into the cockpit, like water from a downspout. I was already getting a spectacular shower from the rain, but I took down my hair and rinsed it thoroughly in this makeshift faucet formed by the sail.
After the first invigorating shower of the day, getting soaking wet got old. We dragged out our lightweight rain gear---both pants and jackets---and started wearing those to stay dry. For the first time in weeks, it was cool enough to even contemplate wearing that many clothes. Also for the first time in weeks, a hot meal actually sounded appealing.
And so here we drift. It is 3:20 a.m. I am typing this on a keyboard that is incessantly rolling towards me and away from me, because blogging helps to keep me awake. Every fifteen minutes, I go out into the cockpit to check the horizon for other vessels and check for wind. I also check our position and velocity made good to make sure that we're not drifting backwards.
3 degrees 34' N, 91 degrees 16' W. Drifting.
Sent from sea via HAM radio