Passage to La Libertad Equador

Jan Morten Ruud
Thu 11 Feb 2010 23:56
Position 02:13.017N,  80:55.324W


The Doldrums – the Intertropcial Convergence Zone around equator - an area of calms with widely rain showers and thunderstorms. THUNDERSTORMS – the captains most feared weather feature. Being out on the sea with a 21 meters stick up in the air, with thunderstorms is just crazy.

The ITCZ moves around a little, and when we crossed it, it was placed approx. from 6 degrees north to around 3 degrees north with a little more than medium convection (that is what makes the thunderstorms).

The rest of the crew had though promised the captain that they do all the watches so the captain could go below in one of the cabins and hide out the thunderstorms.

Day one of the passage where done out of the ITZC, in beautiful weather, in light winds from north so that we could motor sail.  The kids throw out the fishing gear, we were in all modesty in the best area of the world for fishing tuna, swordfish and marlins. It did not take long time before we heard the nice sound of the reel giving out line – bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz – bzzzzzzzzzzzzzz – bzzzzzzzzzzzzz, two hundred meter with line out in some seconds. Then some large splashes and it was gone …

Out with the fishing gear again, and there it was again, bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz – boooooom this time it took the lure and went. Around us we saw blue marlin and swordfish’s jumping out of the water – it was amazing. We managed to catch a dorado of about 5-6 KG.


Day two – we got the weather forecast from frivind – our weather router. “you are now in the ITZC – expect variable wind, black sky’s and regular rain and thunderstorm’s”. The sky was indeed black and around we saw monstrous clouds chasing around. To make a long story short. There was a small fleet of WARC boats out there – relaying weather conditions all the time.  We used 1,5 days to get through the ITZC and we managed to do some squalls slalom that we learned in the ARC, and outsmarted two thunderstorm’s. And amazingly the night, which is supposed to be the worst part, we had clear skyes with stars. What a relief.


Day tree – approaching Equator. The third day was calm with no wind, no fish, a lot for abandon fishing line floating around far out in the sea. In the afternoon we were approached by an open boat around 20 feet with two large outboard engines. With all the focus on piracy we got quite nervous  when approached by this boat. When it arrived we saw tree fishermen in the boat (200 Nm out in the sea) where it looked like they lived for some days. In the boat they had an open grill to cook on, several large cans with petrol and fishing gear. They asked if we would like to by some fish – phuuu.   The night become the most busiest during this passage.  We had overcast with some squalls with light wind and rain. We saw lightening around us during the most of the night, but it was always at far distance. Around midnight a small boat appeared just ½ mile from the boat and circled around us for 3 hours during the night. It was probably a small fishing boat. In the morning Stian alarmed the captain that there where a small flags ahead – indicating fishing lines. Just entering the cockpit I see lines just ahead of the boat, grabbing the wheel turning sharp to starboard and cutting the engine. Looking out we saw then line wrapped around our keel. We managed to get loose of the line, it had not caught the propeller,  During the whole trip to Ecuador we where 2 to 5 boats sailing together – Noeluna and Ronja being close to each other the whole time. It was a great help and relief to have another boat there together with you on all the happenings.

Equator - se own own log.


Day 4 – Landfall Equador, La Libertad.

We have always thought of Equator as very warm – it is not – infact we are sitting in the boat with our full weather gear on. It looks just as Norway, grey sky varying from black to light grey, quite cold, rain. Just entering the 06:00 to 09:00 duty, and it is freezing. While writing this log it is 11:30 and it still quite cold and gray with some rain. The whole WARC fleet are joking around that it is just like being in England, Scotland, Baltic, …

Throughout the night we encounter fishing boats with long floating/drifting lines, and it was a nightmare figuring out what way to go. Sitting here now, passed the whole Ecuadorian fishing fleet, seeing La Libertad in the distance is just great. We have ETA around 13.00. It shall be nice to meet the others and the WARC crew waiting for us on the pontoons again.