Left Panama 4/5, towards Las Perlas, having to negotiate large quantities
of debris from recent storms, including lots of rubbish, many large branches and
a worryingly large patch of dead fish.
Anchored off a couple of Las Perlas islands for two nights before
beginning the crossing proper.
To start with the sails were up and down as the wind came and went, but
once clear of San Jose island we could sail slowly in the right direction. We
decided to sail while we could maintain enough speed to at least steer as no
wind was forecast and we didn't know how long we would have to motor for.
Lightning lit up the sky every night during the crossing of the Doldrums,
with sudden increases in wind involving a quick reefing of the sails and the
boat rolling enough to make it difficult to stay in bed. We wanted to avoid the
lightning as one boat was damaged in Panama, fortunately it died off every
morning as the sun came up.
Cleared 100 miles on the first day, sailing despite the forecast of no
Saw a seabird trying to fish to be beaten by a Ballyhoo leaping out of the
water to grab it - the bird backed away. Large rays clearly visible from a
distance spun and somersaulted out of the water. As dusk approached dolphins
swam on our bow. An older looking species and battered with scars on the bodies
and nicks in their fins.
No wind again, motoring for 8 hours, then picking up enough wind to slowly
sail in nearly the right direction. The sea changed from Panama green to a
beautiful sapphire blue, that we are used to. Went past Isle del Malpelo, the
only rock between S America and the Galapagos and our navigation lights at night
attract thousands of squid, to the delight of the nocturnal gulls, who remained
our constant companions during the night for the rest of the way to
Nocturnal Gull on Floreana
Lovely dolphins in the afternoon with much somersaulting and tails slapping
(to stun fish)