Tue 19 May 2009 22:27
Here at last, Peter our agent here, is as astonished as some of you that we did not motor more to get here but that's all behind us now. So a summary of the trip...
Following the pics of rays on the blog we now realise why we could see them so far off, they are huge Manta Rays, this one decided to follow close behind us for a few minutes a magnificent sight on another day with very little wind.
Our weather was very varied and we had to move around to get into the constant winds below the doldrums, once there it was sail west and gain any miles south when the wind direction shifted.
We had one afternoon of torrential rain with everything closed and No1 chasing around below mopping up leaks large and small. The next morning we decided to tack at 5am to avoid a nasty looking storm cloud not relishing a repeat performance, good move as it turned out, however just as we turned a flying fish cleared the starboard rail and most of the cockpit to hit No1 on the forehead, (''inch lower could have had her eye out '' as my Grandma used to say) A rude and unusual awakening for No1 and the fish no doubt! Fish spent the rest of the tack flapping around our feet, slipperily defying all efforts to pick it up, so was unceremoniously sloshed out of the gullies with a bucket of water when we were steady on our new course. Once south of the 'storm belt' we had skies looking more like the Trade Winds weather we have become used to, a warm wind on the face seemed a good indicator we had a found different weather pattern.
The Pacific Ocean so far seems a little strange to us, a long low swell is there most of the time then it will change direction and a choppy confused sea takes over, water wants to go in all directions at once. We definately noticed a current moving with or against us as the moon moves across the sky although all we've read suggests it should go west consistantly, maybe on the next passage it will settle. We were caught in a current moving east towards the Gulf of Panama on our way south initially and we got too close to the Panama/Columbian coast, that meant retracing steps and adding to our time at sea.
For those who did not like the Skipper's 'sailing hat', good news - lost it, 370 miles short of Galapagos it flew off and sank before we could get back to rescue it. I'm sure there will be an equally engaging hat along the way. The first mid passage hair cut was necessary because of the heat, Skipper now has a shortish back and sides although the top still looks like Ken Dodd! Clippers in Galapagos?
Fishing was again a feature some days but the only fish we caught was a tiddler and the only reason we knew it was there was a bird swooping down in our wake to pick it off as it came to the surface. Eventually we spotted the jumping fish following us at 4.8 knots and reeled it in to unhook it and let it go.
190 miles from here another rude awakening for No1, as the call ''get some clothes on and come up on deck'' We were met by an open boat with three fishermen and a shark on board (shark was already dead and gutted) thankfully they were only after food, so a goodie bag was made up and they offered to swap a fresh squid. A little early to accept an inky squid on board. Photo next time!
Instead, see below our escorting Pilot Whale, these whales seem to swim with dolphins and sometimes, the smaller ones thankfully, swim around the boat and in the bow wave with the dolphins.