Doldrums

06:09S 100:03W
1000 UTC Mon 16 Mar 2015
No wind! That’s the cry for the last few days, in fact more or less ever since our departure from the Galapagos.  We’ve had periods of breeze and periods of rain and, in between, very light to zero wind.  Looking at our weather files (GRIB) which we are able to download, it appears that the usually reliable SW winds to be found at 4 deg South have been replaced with a great big hole.  Furthermore, this hole seems to follow us from day to day so that we never get out of it.  We had the sails up whenever we get a whiff, and then down again for noisy motoring, supposedly to get out of the hole.  But we’re still in it after 5 days!  You can sense the frustration.
But there are upsides: the sea is very calm. When the sun shines, it’s beautiful.  And we have had some remarkable sightings:
- a sea lion that wanted to board us for a rest, thinking we were still in harbour.  That was a hint to us that we were going rather slowly, about 1 knot, and it was time to start the engine!
- Sperm whales – yes, a whole pod of them “logging” on the surface, spread out over an area of half a mile or so.  Fortunately there was absolutely no wind at the time so we were able to just drift with them for well over an hour.  Shades of Moby Dick!  Amazing, I never thought that I would see these elusive creatures and yet here they were, dozens of them.
 
 m_Logging m_Headm_Splashm_Tail
 
- Beaked whales: we think they were Longmans (rare) although the Cuvier beaked whale is more common. Our book remarks, encouragingly, that beaked whales are very hard to identify correctly at sea since you have to look at their teeth to get a positive ID.  Anyway, we are pretty sure that they were not dolphin so they must have been beaked whales.  There was a small pod of about 6 animals appearing on our port side for a few minutes before disappearing again.
 
- Marlin.  Our fishing exploits have yielded nothing so far but suddenly the reel started to scream and the line was in danger to being stripped right off.  We got that under control and some more tension on the line, thinking “This is a big one” when suddenly this huge beast leapt from the water angrily shaking its head with massive energy.  Once, twice and more it shot out, at about 200 metres distance.  We were in awe and not really concentrating on the line.  Besides, what could we do?  There was no way that we could bring that fish onto Lovesail: far too heavy and far too dangerous, so we were going to have to free it anyway.  But no need, the fish broke free easily and was gone. We were left with one less beautiful lure and a somewhat shorter line for the next catch.  But what a sight!  Sorry, no photos.
 
We have been sailing in company with one of our fleet and are able to chat over the VHF radio.  The others are dotted about but too far for VHF.  We get together for daily sched on the HF radio at 7pm local time.  The main purpose is to report emergencies (none), our positions and then a bit of chat.  We have one single hander with us and that’s the only time he get to talk with humans, besides himself of course.  And others too like to share their news, mainly fishing, equipment failures, etc.
 
We are ever hopeful that the breeze will fill in – manana – but for now, we’ll just keep on gently and peacefully wending our way.
M