Thursday, April 19, 2012

Slow Progress Towards the Equator

Monday, April 18-Day 8

Today was a slow day reaching under the asymmetrical spinnaker, frequently hand steering in the light airs. At sunset, a school of dolphin joined us, but we were involved in a sail change at the time and I couldn't get my line in the water to find out what they were feeding on. We spent most of the night dodging huge storm clouds that appeared on the radar. We're not sure if these are real squalls, since one has not completely passed over us yet, but we do notice that these mini-fronts affect the wind. Preceding one, the wind seems to completely die down; and as one approaches, the wind increases. Last night, the wind gusted up to 16-17 knots as one neared, but we left it astern of us and never felt its full effect.

Tuesday, April 19-Day 9

We are plodding along towards the Galapagos at a snail's pace. Today, we were on a beat most of the day making just two to three knots, not all of it in the right direction. We need to make some easting in order to approach the Galapagos Islands from the east (so we are working with the prevailing currents to set us on the islands rather than against them); however, the prevailing winds here keep us heading west if we also want to continue going south.

Around 3:30 p.m., the wind started kicking in, and we are now speeding along at over four knots, almost exactly on course. (It's funny how after experiencing so much light air, three or four knots seems positively zippy!)

The warmer the water, the better the fishing. The water temperature is now 94 degrees F. Today, I caught another fish, a size worth keeping with sleek, beefy looking sides. The fish was something in the tuna family, but this time it wasn't a skipjack! It was dark blue above and had flashes of yellow on it--- but that describes several species---and I wasn't able to observe it long enough to note the specific details that would identify it. Patrick was busy on deck, so I tried to lift the line with the fish aboard instead of gaffing it. It must not have been hooked well, because the fish slipped off the lure and off it went. Salivating, I watched its retreat into the depths with chagrin.

I lean over the side and trail my hand through the water and am amazed at how warm it is. I am longing for the day when I can go swimming, but I am waiting for a day---sure to come in the not-so-distant future---when we are becalmed. Patrick is so over-protective that, instead of just tying a rope around my waist and letting me jump over the side (there have been times, let me assure you, when our boat speed has made this quite possible,) he would stop the boat in order for me to have a swim. I don't want to delay our progress for one minute, and so I wait.

(Posted at sea - via Ham Radio.)

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