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Date: 07 Mar 2010 22:07:00
Title: Panama to Galapagos - Noon position third day (Sunday)

Last night was much quieter - the wind dropped down to 10-15 knots and the sea went down, although we still surfed on the occasional bigger wave. The conditions today have remained much the same and we've been making 6-7kts over the ground (6kts or so through the water, with a 1kt of favorable current). We made 160 miles in the last 24 hours, which is good. We haven't used the engine since leaving the anchorage on Friday afternoon, but the winds are forecast to drop down and it's likely that we will have to use it at some stage. One ship passed by 4 miles away last night, but other than that we haven't seen any ships/yachts and very little wildlife - only a couple of boobies that flew around us a few times. They are very much like our gannets, white with black on the wings. So from our book we think they are either Masked Boobies or Red-footed Boobies (they didn't come close enough to check the colour of their feet!). Another good reason for leaving when we did is that there is still a good moon. It comes up about midnight and if there's no cloud, it lights up the sea all around us. It makes such a difference when sailing at night. Ran the watermaker this morning and we now have full water tanks, so it's showers this afternoon!
The hydrovane self steering is in charge of steering today. For short passages we normally just use the electric autopilot, but it takes a lot of power. So far the hydrovane is keeping a good course. The tiny island of Malpelo is 27 miles away on our port side. It's actually a group of 4 islands which Columbia have taken control of. On the chart it's listed as an area to be avoided, which is just what we're doing. Have just had a look at the chart where we are and the depth is a mere 10,741 feet!

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