Now underway to Marquesas - Destination Nuka Hiva
01 15 S 91 25 W
We weighed anchor before 8 am local time this morning; Tuesday, April 20. We are now 25 nm enroute and have been sailing nicely all the way with about 12 kts of wind and steering a course of 240 M with the wind at 70 degrees off the bow on port tack. We can expect the wind to be close to this southeasterly direction for the first 1500 nm and then progressively more out of the east for the last half of the passage. Seas are very pleasant with a long period swell - a very gentle swell 1-2 meter (4-6 foot) aft of our port beam - and a slight chop typical of 12 kts of wind.
We have a slight mix of cloud and sun which is breaking the heat a bit for our comfort
It will be interesting to see how our ETA changes as we move along this passage…..the longest passage sailors ever have as they circumnavigate following the tradewinds. We are currently showing May 5th / May 6th for arrival but that ETA does not really have any significant meaning at this early stage of our passage. This passage is approximately 3000 nm compared to our longest passage to date, the Atlantic crossing at 2750 nm. However the wind speeds are expected to be considerably lower on this Pacific crossing so our average nm per day will be approximately 150 nm …not the 192 nm that we averaged on the Atlantic crossing.
S/V Kilkea, our sailing buddies David and Marian from Vancouver, left with us this morning so we are beginning in close company and we intend to keep that up unless something unusual develops by way of wind speed or direction which will significantly differentiate our Oyster 56 from their Amel 54…and that could well happen along the way as conditions change.
We estimate that we are in the last 20 % of the 2010 Pacific crossing group of yachts. The first boats were heading this way at the first of February and the last ones will be about mid-May. We were anchored at Isla Isabela for 9 days and during the first 5 or 6 days there were generally about 22 boats anchored there as the comings and goings kept happening. When we left this morning, the number was down to 13 as we left the anchorage behind.
As a sidenote, we mentioned that the sea lions were not a big nuisance in Isabela compared to the terrible nuisance problem we had to handle in San Cristobal; our guide to the Volcano on Sunday informed us that the reason for that is a DRASTIC reduction (down by 80%) in local sea lion population this year due to ocean currents affecting the water temperature and the available food for sea lions and other species. The sea lions either starved to death or migrated to other areas/islands where food supply was better this year. While Ian and I and David and Marian were on the volcano excursion on Sunday, Cheryl had a baby sea lion join her in the cockpit….but, with a little coaxing, she got it to go back aft and into the water WITHOUT making any mess….FORUNATELY!!.
The Volcano excursions was a great experience; we walked approximately 35 km (20 miles) beginning with a 7 am pick-up on our boat and a return to the anchorage at 5 pm. We got to see the 2nd largest volcanic chaldera in the world -measures 12 km across at widest part of its elliptical shape and 10 km at the narrowest. We walked a bit more than 1/3rd of the way around the rim and then went off to a volcanic flow/field and an adjacent volcano. The last eruption in the big chaldera was in 2005; the last major flow at the other volcanic “field” was in 1979. It was a mixed day of lush, almost tropical rain forest environment, to the bleak lava field with a major cactuses, nothing else, in the part of the lava field that was 100 years since last flow…..and absolutely nothing in the part where the last flow was 30 years ago. Our guide was born in Equador of Japanese father and Ecuadorian mother…..Japanese is his first language but he spoke great English - along with capabilities to communicate in Spanish, Russian, Chinese, Italian, etc. He is 62 years old and has a very rich background of experience…..including showing us so, so, many major medicinal herbs that were growing readily along our footpath.
We will update occasionally over the next 3 weeks with some account of our progress and any events of interest. Otherwise, we will let the Blog’s automatic position reporting track our progress which will show for your information where we are on the blog’s globe …. Or… on Google Earth.
We will not have any access to internet…and things like worldly events/news/etc while we are enroute…..so, please drop and email and include anything that might be of interest by way of worldly developments, Canadian developments, USA newsy stuff, sailing/pirate/weather items…anything that will give us daily feed of some things to stay in touch with the world. PLEASE REMEMBER: as we have previously covered on this blog and in individual emails > DON’T send attachments/photos or anything like that in your emails to us…..BUT, Please do send us emails …..it is most appreciated to find something in our in-box in our daily check via Satellite Phone.
DTG to Nuka Hiva: 2954 nm