Day 10, Galápagos Arrival!

1200Z 25MAY19, Day 10, Panama to Galapagos. Arrived in Galapagos just before sunrise!

We crossed the equator and the filthy, slimy pollywogs successfully came through the ceremony and were permitted entry into the Southern Realm! We actually crossed the equator 3 times. We sailed across it, took down the sails for the ceremony, drifted back north with the current and then sailed across it again!

This passage was not physically difficult but was a challenge for a number of reasons. We were sailing into the wind all but a very few hours - which is a tough point of sail for us and not especially fast either. We used our engine more than we would have liked. The currents pushed us around and denied us our desired progress. In the end it was another passage that taught new lessons of our capabilities, challenges and tried our patience at times. We knew we were unlikely to have a quick passage, but we are (or at least I am) always optimistic that we can do better than the predictions. 

Current Position: 00 54S 089 37W
Progress over final 18 hours: 82nm, 4.6kts avg SOG, with 7.5 hours motoring

Passage statistics:
1,121 nautical miles
9 days, 18 hours
4.8 knots average speed over ground
70 hours of engine time
240 liters of fuel consumed (approximately)
200 liters of water consumed (approximately, topped up tanks 2x with rain water on days 3&4, free rain water not in calculation)
1 swim for everyone in the Pacific at the Equator
1 Day with a small area where we saw multiple dolphins and whales
3 Nights of red-footed booby hitch-hikers
0 Fish landed (1 small one hooked, but lost)
1 Cribbage game played
1 Thing broken - a salt water foot pump is leaking
1 Issue still being trouble-shot - batteries not being charged by engine alternator 

Post was delayed for check in procedures, crew rest, lack of good internet and some Galapagos exploring as we only have a short one week stop to cram it all in!

Day 9, Panama to Galapagos

1740Z 24MAY19, Day 9, Panama to Galapagos. Getting closer now, finally. Arrival should be early tomorrow morning.

Yesterday turned out to be another nice sunny day. Today looks to be the same. We are about 8nm from crossing the equator! The filthy, slimy pollywogs will be cleansed and emerge as shellbacks.

Current Position: 00 07N 088 49W
24 hour progress: 123nm, 5.1kts avg SOG, with 13.5 hours of motoring to drive us southward against the wind and a crossing current. Current progress for the passage is 1040nm with approximately 80nm to go. Winds were around 8-10kts overnight and they are around 12kts today. We are sailing close hauled with a good course.

The crew is doing well. We are excited to end this long, often frustrating, passage. Today we will cross the equator and tomorrow we will be in the Galapagos!

Yesterday the water turned back to dark green, but today it seems bluer again. Strange. We are now seeing the AIS hits of the boats around the Galapagos. After leaving the Panama area we have not seen many other boats at all. Those that we have, have been shipping container boats or tankers. Though two nights ago we saw a couple of boats without AIS, which is weird since the Galapagos requires the tracking information. Perhaps they were fishing boats, we only saw their lights and they were not close.

Last night we motored / motor sailed all night with our low (steaming/motoring) running lights on. There were so many boobies flying with us and lit up green on starboard and red on port. Only a few managed to land given the apparent wind almost directly on the nose and the deck obstructions affecting their approach/landing lines. This squadron had a dismal boarding rate, but had better range scores. It was entertaining to watch and another mess had to be cleaned up by Jon this morning.

Cribbage tally for passage:
Jon-1, Daxton-0

Day 8, Panama to Galapagos

1740Z 23MAY19, Day 8, Panama to Galapagos. We are back to making progress in the right direction. Hopefully it holds this time.

Yesterday turned out to be a nice sunny day. Today started out similar with the same grey, but the clouds burned off and it seems to be another sunny day. We could actually use a good hard rain to wash down the boat - our guests (red-footed boobies) increased in numbers and became more brazen in their party area. Jon has worked to clean a good deal of it up today, but a rain wash down would be quite welcome.

Current Position: 01 10N 087 13W
24 hour progress: 128nm, 5.3kts avg SOG, with the last 24 hours all sailing. Current progress for the passage is 916nm with approximately 190nm to go on the great circle route. We have had steady winds of 15kts +/- 5kts. We continue to sail close hauled. Current ETA likely to be the morning of the 25th. As somewhat anticipated, this has been a rather slow passage.

The crew is doing fine. More red-footed boobies joined us yesterday with at least 7 sleeping on the boat last night. I took pictures of 8 on the boat at one time, after sunrise, so perhaps they were all on the boat overnight. They are difficult to count in the moonlight plus they start flying off (and then back on) before sunrise to start eating. Over 48 hours of booby presence has taken its toll on the solar panels, the sail, the deck and the bow. They are still quite entertaining though. This morning a frigate bird tried to land after she had been harassing the boobies for their food. The boobies did not let her stop for a ride or join their party. They are on the boat a lot less this morning so perhaps they will move on today.

Yesterday we were given a small show by some big dolphins. They were launching themselves into the air and doing full body flips. It always makes me think of Sea World, and other, dolphin shows where they claim that they only ask them to do behaviors that they do in the wild. It isn't often when we have seen them do full flips in the air or jump up high, fully out of the water, but when they do I am always surprised enough to think, "Huh, what do you know, I guess those flips through the hoop or up to the mark were a natural behavior after all." We must have gone through an area rich in fish as the dolphins didn't have much interest in the boat and we saw quite a few of them. We also saw a few groups of what we think were whales in the same area. The whales were never very close to us, and they weren't especially big. They were dark and bigger than porpoises with a prominent, though short, dorsal fin. Perhaps pilot whales or minke whales? Later we had dolphins and boobies at the bow for a few minutes. We did finally decide to throw the fishing line back out despite the boobie fest. So far the boobies haven't seemed too interested in the cedar plug, but neither have the fish.

Cribbage tally for passage:
Jon-1, Daxton-0

Day 7, Panama to Galapagos

1740Z 22MAY19, Day 7, Panama to Galapagos. A week at sea with days to go. Yesterday saw very little forward progress. We motor sailed south to get out of current that was limiting our progress and in an attempt to make it to a spot where we could sail on a more direct course.

While there were some rain clouds on the horizon, yesterday ended up sunny and warm. Today started off grey with light showers, but is now sunny.

Current Position: 01 48N 085 14W
24 hour progress: 111nm, 4.6kts avg SOG, the last 24 hours included 15 hours of motor sailing. Current progress for the passage is 788nm with approximately 310nm to go on the great circle route. We have had steady winds of 15kts +/- 5kts true wind. Currently sailing close hauled in lighter winds and calm seas.

The crew is doing fine. We were frustrated by the lack of progress yesterday. But today is a new day and we seem to be making improved progress. We are hoping that we can continue to make more direct progress and that we will pick up a beneficial current as we get closer to the Galapagos.

More red-footed boobies joined us yesterday with about five sleeping on the boat - on the anchor, on the bow pulpit, on the lifelines and one on the stern rail. Athena checked the one at the stern out for a bit and slept outside with an eye on him for a good bit of the night. We think they must make a habit of finding sailboats, hitching rides and hanging out, as we know of many boats that they have visited. They fly off to eat, play around the boat and then return to preen and rest. Fun to watch, but they have put a damper on our fishing as all our lures look like what they're fishing up. They have been decently behaved thus far and have only been leaving small messes. Daxton is thoroughly enjoying their visit, naming each of them and providing stream of conscious commentary on their antics. Entertaining and exhausting.

Day 6, Panama to Galapagos

1740Z 21MAY19, Day 6, Panama to Galapagos. We are being beaten by the current and struggling to make progress in the right direction. We tacked this morning and are making ESE progress which is actually taking us a bit further from the Galapagos and not getting us south quickly either. The goal is to get below the current line and to get to the wind that we should be able to sail towards the Galapagos.

Yesterday was sunny and warm. Today is a mix of grey and sun. It looks like we may see some rain again later today.

Current Position: 03 02N 085 10W
24 hour progress: 115nm, 4.8kts avg SOG, the last 24 hours were all sailing. Current progress for the passage is 677nm with approximately 360nm to go on the great circle route. We have had steady winds of 15kts +/- 5kts true wind. We have also seen winds above 20kts. Currently sailing close hauled with 1 reef in the main. We add a 2nd reef when the winds are higher and shake it out when they go back down.

The crew is doing fine. We are a bit frustrated by the wind and currents. We may have to motor sail out of this because we have a swath of about 160 degrees that we can't sail due to the push from the current. For now, we continue to pound to windward with no end in sight.

This morning a Red Footed Booby stopped to hang out on the bow and periodically takes off to do acrobatics around us and then returns. She (or he) has now been joined by what seems to be a juvenile. So now we have one on the anchor and one on the pulpit. They have helped to improve morale and are proving quite entertaining to Daxton who is narrating their adventures and has named them "Cupcake" and "Brownie".

Day 5, Panama to Galapagos

1740Z 20MAY19, Day 5, Panama to Galapagos. Halfway there! It seems like we have passed the halfway point in both distance and time. Time will tell.

We continued to have scattered rain throughout yesterday afternoon. Last night was rain free again with the moon keeping everything well lit. Today started off mostly cloudy but is now sunny with blue skies.

Current Position: 03 08N 083 39W
24 hour progress: 124nm, 5.2kts avg SOG, the last 24 hours were all sailing. Current progress for the passage is 562nm with approximately 435nm to go on the great circle route. We have had steady winds of 15kts +/- 5kts true wind. Our course has varied from direct to San Cristobal, Galapagos to westerly with the need for a bit more south. Currently sailing close hauled with 1 reef in the main.

The crew is doing well. Things have been more comfortable. We remain hopeful for a wind shift that will allow a more direct route, but we are going closer to the direct rhumb line path than earlier in the passage. On we pound to windward.

School work is being accomplished and cooking has been easier. Fishing continues to be unproductive. However, we are eating well. Chicken stir fry was quite popular with Daxton who downed more of it than the rest of us combined—so much for getting a lunch out of that dinner as well. Ronan wasn't feeling well yesterday but seems to be back to himself today.

Day 4, Panama to Galapagos

1740Z 19MAY19, Day 4, Panama to Galapagos. We seem to have finally gotten far enough south this morning to allow us to start sailing with decent speed, in the correct direction!

We continued to have scattered rain throughout yesterday afternoon. Last night was rain free and the moon kept everything well lit. Yesterday we had decent winds (20kts +/- 5kts) for a good bit of the day with it settling down to low winds (8-10kts) overnight. The wind has come back up again this morning and is so far consistently about 15-20kts.

Current Position: 03 24N 081 41W
24 hour progress: 102nm, 4.25kts avg SOG, the last 24 hours were about 23 hours sailing and 1 hour motoring. Current progress for the passage is 438nm with approximately 540nm to go on the great circle route.

The crew is doing fine. Yesterday was a bit rolly as the rain and the associated winds made the seas a bit sloppy. As the seas had everyone feeling a bit off with nobody especially hungry, dinner became a thrown together meal of leftovers. Today we are all feeling better and excited to be moving well and moving in the correct direction!!! We are hopeful this will continue.

Fishing thus far has been unproductive. We continue to see terns and boobies. Yesterday, we had what looked like small pink-bellied dolphins swimming near us and showing off their acrobatic skills.

Day 3, Panama to Galapagos

1740Z 18MAY19, Day 3, Panama to Galapagos. The trip continues to be slow and a bit frustrating. We continue to need to use the engine more than we would like. We typically want to be going directly into the wind so when we can sail we are tacking back and forth and aren't making great forward progress. Occasionally the wind cooperates and we make rhumb line progress, but it has been short lived when it happens.

We had some more rain yesterday. Then no rain overnight and rain again this morning. Basically things seem to bounce between calm and motoring, very slow sailing in about 10kts of wind with tacking and 15-20kts of wind with tacking. The winds aren't aligning with the forecasts and it is difficult to know which of the random options the next hours will bring.

Current Position: 04 47N 081 09W
24 hour progress: 100nm, 4.2kts avg SOG, the last 24 hours were about 19 hours sailing and 5 hours motoring. Approximately 615nm to go on the great circle route - if only we could make direct progress.

The crew is fine and weathering the frustrations. The afternoon and evening of yesterday included heeled over sailing making baking and cooking challenging. The Creme Brûlée for Ronan's birthday didn't set right but it was still tasty. It is unclear if the issue was the passion fruit that was added to the recipe or the oven sloshing around and getting water bath water into the deserts. At any rate Ronan was appreciative and enjoyed one of his favorite meals as well as the special dessert.

Day 2, Panama to Galapagos

1740Z 17MAY19, Day 2, Panama to Galapagos. We ended up with some decent wind for awhile yesterday and made good progress under sail. During the night the wind went back to the forecasted 5-10kts and our progress slowed but we were still sailing.

By the early morning hours we started to see some rain cells and the wind was very light and shifty, and became difficult to sail. So the engine has been back on since before sun rise. We have tried to sail a bit here or there but so far have to keep turning on the engine.

Current Position: 05 31N 080 29W
24 hour progress: 117nm, 4.9kts avg SOG, the last 24 hours were about 14 hours sailing and 10 motoring. Approximately 670nm to go on the great circle route. The weather has been overcast and we had quite a bit of rain for a few hours.

The crew is all doing well. It is Ronan's 12th birthday today! So there were blueberry muffins for breakfast and smoothies for lunch. Creme brûlée has been requested instead of cake so that is the next project. The first book on tape is just about to finish. Things are slow, wet and steady.

Day 1, Panama to Galapagos

1740Z 16MAY19, Day 1, Panama to Galapagos. We departed from Panamá City at 12:40 local time on 15MAY19. We spent the morning doing preparations to get underway, including going into the marina to get fuel and water.

The weather forecasts have not been great - there is not much wind at all in the forecast. This 900-1000nm passage could take awhile and we will have to sail in light winds which will be slow going. However, we decided it was time to move along and our friends on Alesea had set off as well from the Las Perlas islands, putting them about 8 hours or so in front of us.

There was some wind as we left, but it was a local storm and we didn't get much out of it before it died down to almost nothing. We motor sailed and were able to finish up some of our last items on the "to do" list so decided to continue along rather than stop at Las Perlas.

We motor sailed through the night. The winds were largely less than 5 kts and we paralleled the Panama Traffic zone making the night traffic uneventful. Around sunrise the winds were "up" consistently above 5kts and we will just have to sail with light winds, so we started sailing. We have been getting a nice boost from the current.

Current Position: 07 07N 079 36W
24 hour progress: 119nm, 5kts avg SOG mostly from motoring, approximately 770nm to go on the great circle route. The weather is warm and sunny with completely calm seas. Since this morning we've been sailing close hauled with full sails up. We have 4-8kts true wind and have been making about 4kts over ground, making a southerly course.

The crew is all doing well and settling into our routines. The first book on tape is rolling. Things are slow and steady.