Booby on board

Fri 20 Feb 2015 15:22
03:24.5N 081:11.8W
20 Feb 2015
After leaving Las Perlas we have been constantly dodging the shipping coming to and fro the Panama Canal.  It’s been almost constant with sometimes up to seven vessels all in range of our AIS.  On occasion we have had to radio another ship just to clarify and coordinate their course with ours.  One night we had a peculiar situation with a large tanker drifting with all its deck light on, while another vessel was seemingly headed straight for it while both of them lay in our path.  A radio call sorted this out: it was a service vessel come to work on the tanker.  Thankfully, I think we are now clear of the shipping.
The sailing has been mixed.  Most days we are able to fly the spinnaker and make good speed, but at night we drop the spi and often the wind has dropped with it, obliging us to motor.  At least this means calm seas.  Weather is fine.  One day was very humid and hazy but that was replaced by blue skies and gentle breeze (and current) taking us to our destination.  Occasionally we see lightning at a distance at night but we haven’t been bothered with any rain squalls. We have chosen to  sail a southerly route to take advantage of the favourable breeze and to position ourselves for a nice reach to Galapagos once we reach the South winds that blow up the coast of South America and then curve to the West to become the SE trades.  Fishing is pants.  Nothing, nada. Nights are black, being around the time of the New Moon, and the phosphorescence has been amazing.  A couple of dolphin have surprised us at night appearing out of the dark like bright torpedoes heading at speed for the boat before diving underneath the hull and disappearing.
Yesterday was Lucy’s birthday and it was perfect in many ways.  Weather beautiful, calm seas, happy times with the family together and lots of dolphin. We even broke the rules and cracked a bottle of Moet.  And to cap it, a booby landed on our deck and perched on the pulpit just after we dropped the spi and settled down for the night.  The booby obviously felt the same way and he stayed with us all night before flying off in the early morning.