Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Sailing for the Galapagos
Here is the latest log entry from Lee Winters as he heads deep into the Pacific with his dog Georgia.
There is a thing about the sea. Just the second you start to believe you have everything under control, she'll knock you down and ensure you know there are more lessons to come. Thankfully, I learn fast and don't usually require a lesson to be taught more than once.
In my eagerness to start the Pacific leg of this journey I failed to take enough time to understand the nature of the waters I'd be crossing. Jimmy Cornell's great book, World Cruising Routes indicated that making a Southerly route first down to as far at 3N before making the turn West would provide the best sailing. I thought I'd shortcut the prevailing thought and use the first 2.5 days of strong North winds to sail a direct course for the Galapagos then turn South once they died out. Bad idea.
The first part of the plan worked great. Jargo turned into a downwind sled and we flew along at 7 - 9 knots. What I failed to understand was that I'd come far enough West after two days to find myself smack in the middle of a North setting 1 - 1.5 knot current. With no wind and a North current I found myself several times pointing South, but making way North, literally sailing backwards!
To correct this I've used every gust of wind along with a little diesel to make may way SSE. Most of the progress came from three storms that gave good sailing winds in the 15 - 20 knot range, but only lasted for an hour or two. An hour ago the jib back winded, a sign I'd finally found a SE wind and could again turn the bow of Jargo towards the Galapagos. Winds are still below 5 knots so, painfully, I am burning more diesel motor-sailing until the breeze fills in.
Other than taking the long route, things are fine aboard. I've had one strike on the fishing line, but the fish was off before I could even begin to bring in the line. On a similar note, I am surprised at how devoid of life it seems here. Going on five days at sea now all I've seed are two pods of dolphins, one sea turtle, and maybe half a dozen sea birds. Oh, and literally maybe three flying fish. Somehow I think I had it in mind that this was area was teeming with sea life? Maybe it is the El Nino effect or maybe it really is a salty, wet, desert. I might feel a bit guilty about pulling one more living creature from these blue depths, but I sure could go for some sushi right about now.
Read more about Lee's adventure here.