Galapagos - Marquesas - Day 7 - 04 00.29S 109 28.13W

Mike and Liz Downing
Fri 7 May 2010 01:12
Had squalls on and off most of the night. They started to ease up as the sun came up and we then had a lovely sunny morning, with the sea a deep blue. The clouds are back again this afternoon and we'll have to see whether we're in for another night of squalls. The wind is about 14kts and we've been sailing well today, making 7 to 8kts most of the time, and in approximately the right direction, which helps! The direct line (rhumb line) to the Marquesas is about 40 miles south of us and we are deliberately staying north if we can to keep the current, which is still giving us between 15 and 20 miles per day. So we're sailing due west when we can and going further south if the wind gets too light. Despite the squalls, and the reduced sail area, our noon to noon run was still good at 166.4 miles.

We are using the gas cooker, rather than the microwave, for our main meal in the evening as although the conditions are pretty good, the bigger swells that come along from time to time do induce rolling and as the microwave is not gimbaled, so anything inside it would fall over. We switch the gas on and off at the gas bottle before and after use, which is not as easy as it sounds. The genoa sheet goes over the top of the gas locker lid, which is in the side deck, and when the sheet is in use, as it will always be on this passage, the gas locker lid cannot be opened. To get round this and keep under full sail, we tie a short piece of rope to the sheet using a rolling hitch and take it to the midships cleat to take the strain off the sheet. The gas locker can then be opened. The rope cannot be left on so we have to repeat this when switching the gas on and off. (We have a solenoid switch and a hand switch that are also used, but feel happier switching it on and off at the bottle.)

Fishing line is out again, but nothing as yet. Other boats who fish on a regular basis have complained that the fish around here are too big and keep breaking and taking away their lines and lures. We don't think that's likely to be a problem we'll have!

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