Slow boat to Galapagos 08.05.09

Fri 8 May 2009 23:06

It's hot, it's still, the sun is blazing down, seeing lightning every night and if we can sail at 3 to 3.5 knots we think it's fantastic.  Yes we found the doldrums, more correctly in this part of the world the Inter Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ).  We could gather very little information on the current position/state of the ITCZ in Balboa so it's deal with what comes again.  (Add SSB to the long list for when we do it again).
So it will be a long wait for the ITCZ to move away from Panama and having gone to Las Perlas Islands in the Gulf of Panama we are now heading south to find wind rather than going on a direct route to the Galapagos Islands (South West).  This means a combination of motoring on our limited supplies of diesel and making the most of what wind we can find.  (''You don't want to start from there'' springs to mind.)
All said and done the calm seas make for good wildlife spotting, yesterdays highlight was a pod of dolphin swimming, jumping, backflipping, leaping generally a way off the port bow - long lens and binoculars required..... Not for long the whole group moved from that position as if to pass us on the port side, then headed straight for us!  Cameras poised but wondering what we should do when they got really close?  Too smart to leave it to us evidently the whole lot still jumping shifted course again and headed off past our bow.  The noise of them was amazing as it has been so quiet and still and minus the screeching was just like kids hour at the swimming pool.  The shark, whale birds and dragon fly!! who hopped a lift for a few hours, all paled after the dolphins, here's a taster of the photos.
Last night bobbing again we could hear breathing and gentle sploshing as we think dolphins swam around the boat.
We appear to have crossed the route used by shipping heading for Panama from South America, We now have fishing boats with very bright deck lights dotted around us all night.  Add AIS to the shopping list.  * AIS is the Automatic Identification System Marion told us about-  tells the user name, speed, course, cargo, destination etc of vessels in the area and transmits the same info to them.  Spent so long getting EPIRB anchor etc sorted forgot we were going to even look at one!
Still bobbing,,,,,, From  our last passage, 4.5 knots with no sails, this is a bit of a difference.