Dipping my stick

Thu 20 Mar 2008 17:44
Wednesday 20th March
Noon position 01:42N 85:28W
One of 'Flecks' rather funky aspects is that despite her burgeoning plethora of electronics there is not fuel guage. You unscrew the fuel cap and drop a long teak stick down into the tank, then measure the oil level.
This is critical just now as I am running out of the stuff. Because the passage to Galapagos is notoriously windless yachts routinely leave Panama festooned with extra fuel cans (USA speak: jerryjugs - a WW2 term I guess, but not, Conny, a reference to the German Brust in general.) These are usually lashed to the side rails round the boat, very ugly, and in a storm, a little dangerous.
As ever I was unwise before the event. Fleck is a sailboat I said, we shall sail there (never having been becalmed on a rolling ocean for more than a few hours at a time before: the motion and noise drives you witless). As a last minute panic measure I bought 2 jugs before we left, but did no fuel calculations of any sort until a particularly prolonged calm halfway accross. Fortunately Lady Luck may be on my side: if there is never another ounce of wind in the sails I should be able to motor into Santa Cruz on my last drop of diesel. May be countercurrent nearer the Islands, but on the other hand we have had light sailing conditions by day for a while now, and today we have 8kts of wind as I speak: a veritable gale in these parts and enough to fill the sails and gently heel the boat just like in the pictures! At dusk it goes completely calm. I switch on the engine, the radar detector and the navigation lights and go to bed.
Yesterday sleep was not sound. A bit of boat fell heavily on my right big toe yesterday, it is splendidly discoloured and very painful, even at rest. In my dreams I anchored on a falling tide in Padstow Estuary and went to see some old chums at Sandwell Hospital. Inside the Hospital was done up just like the Unicorn Pub in Wollaston. When I got out Fleck was high and dry on a sandbank in the Pub car park. No idea how it finished.
Should arrive in Galapagos sooner rather than later, and very much looking forward to seeing Olivia. Yachts are allowed to stay for 21 days so I will have to leave within four weeks from now for the Marquesas, Victorias arrival there late May (for my birthday!)might fit in rather well. There will be quite a shopping list for her.