Astra Blog: Galapagos to Marquesas (Part 2) 16.05.08 - 17.05.08

Jeremy & Sally Paul
Mon 19 May 2008 01:26

Astra Blog: Galapagos to Marquesas (Part 2) 16.05.08 – 17.05.08


Friday 16.05.08


With the wind coming into the east, we were finally forced to gybe north at the pleasant hour of 4.30am.  Thankfully the gybe was executed beautifully and the “off-watch” were not out of their beds for long.  The new course had the added benefit of taking us north of an area of very light breeze that has been plaguing some of the other yachts out here.


During the morning we spotted a seriously large pod of dolphins stretching across about half a mile of ocean, we tried in vain to get them to come and play with us but they continued on their way, perhaps they were chasing their lunch.


Having seen no action all day, twilight saw the fishing reel suddenly whir to life as something with rather a lot of energy took our “Wahoo Slayer” lure and shot off with it at speed.  Ash grabbed the rod in an instant and began wrestling with it.  It was immediately clear that this fish would require us to put the brakes on and the spinnaker was hastily dropped.  The fish turned out to be quite a fighter and despite some fairly energetic reeling, managed to free itself.  No bad thing as it was already quite dark and we were in the middle of a game of scrabble!  So we stuck the spinnaker back up and resumed our course. 


Sally promised us fish pie for dinner and then, after a last minute change of mind, surprised us with a delicious quiche which she had just prepared; Ash was delighted as it meant that there was a fish pie ready made for his “mother-watch” the following day!  After dinner, Sally insisted that we gybe back onto port and actually point at the Marquesas rather than the North Pole.  It was hard to argue with this, and the manoeuvre saw us heading in the right direction at 6-7 knots.


Saturday 17.05.08


A scrumptious buffet lunch of tortillas, salad, manchego, tuna, and the ever present Serrano was followed with an afternoon of constructive activity – not all fun and games, we work very hard sometimes! George played with numbers and graphs trying to make some sense of the sextant observations. Jeremy, Sally and Ash set about replacing the snapped and mutilated fishing line which had been partly responsible for the loss of “Pink Fluffy”.  Unwilling to lose another prized lure, we decided to get more serious and upgraded to 80lb line.  We are now back to full strength with two rods and going after something bigger!


As dusk fell, Jeremy ‘shot the moon’ (got a series of sextant readings of the moons altitude) while the horizon was still visible. The readings came out very well and with a lot of reading, puzzling over tables and head scratching gave some useful data; when combined with our noon-sight they gave us our position to within 2 miles of the GPS reading – a victory for traditional navigation methods!


The evening’s Scrabble game saw Ash take revenge after a series of demoralizing defeats over the last few days. We are enjoying the Scrabble a great deal and have almost lured Jeremy into playing with us as well. However, we are lacking the official list of 2 letter Scrabble words which has led to the occasional ‘debate’! As we have only recently got a dictionary on board there is conflict between the words which appear in the dictionary and words which were used in the pre-dictionary era and hence established by precedent. Contentious words include “exitor” (clearly not a word!), “color” (grrr), “ra”, “jo”, and “jedi”. If anyone has the time, and the inclination not to see a fracas on Astra, then a list of the official two letter scrabble words by email would be greatly appreciated! It wouldn’t be good to have any Scrabble motivated disharmony 1400 miles from our nearest piece of land! It’s a bloody long swim!


For dinner we had Sally’s fish pie (rather good sage and thyme sauce). It was enough to feed about 10 people but we munched our way through it and all ended up a few notches past pleasantly replete.