The Alba Chronicles
Neville Howarth
Mon 24 Feb 2014 15:35



00:48.86S  86:34.78W


So far, we’ve done 370 miles with 190 miles to go.  In the last 24 hours, we’ve done 135 miles.  We’re drifting along under spinnaker at two knots at the moment, so it looks like we’ve got another two nights at sea.  Here’s what we did yesterday and overnight.


23 February 2014   Bahia de Caraques to Galapagos, Ecuador (Day 3)


The wind dropped to around 10 knots after daylight, so Glenys shook out the reef on the genoa and we bobbed along at 5.5 knots on a close reach.  I took advantage of the early 4-7 watch and had an extra hour in bed - luxury!


While Glenys went to bed for a couple of hours, I downloaded a GRIB file which showed that the wind will drop over the next few days - we'll probably end up motoring, but at least there's nothing nasty ahead. 


I checked in on the Pacific Cruisers Net and had a very good signal on our SSB radio, so changing the antenna cable seems to have sorted out my problem.  This is the first time that we've checked into this radio net and it was lovely to have friends from various places around Central America call up and say hello.


I dug out my fishing gear, but despite trolling two lines all day, we didn't get a single bite.  We had great weather during the day - blue skies, 10-14 knot winds and calm seas, so we sailed along at about six knots on a close reach, which was very pleasant.


During the morning, I spotted a strange floating object and sailed over to investigate.  It was the remains of a large mammal (a small whale, I think) that had been caught up in rope.  It was bloated; had already lost its tail to predators and stunk to high heaven.  I didn't get too close.


Glenys and I both seem to like the changes in watches - I'm now on 7-10 and 1-4, while Glenys does 10-1 and 4-7.  She loves seeing the sun rise, and I like the fact that I'm only being woken up once during the night and can wake up naturally at the end of the 4-7 watch.   We were thinking of alternating the watches every day, but it was a big disruption to our sleeping patterns to change over.  Perhaps when we sail to the Marquesas we'll change every five days or so.


The good weather continued all day, but the wind started to drop after dark and Glenys had to turn on the engine at one o'clock in the morning.  After that we motored along in very calm seas with fabulous stars.  We have a star gazing app on our iPad, which is great for identifying stars & planets and helps to keep us occupied on long, dark night watches.


At four o’clock, we just had enough wind to sail again, so we turned off the engine and drifted along at 3-4 knots for a few hours. 


Unfortunately, the wind disappeared altogether just after dawn, so Glenys motored for a while until I got out of my pit and we could put up the spinnaker.  There was only 3-5 knots of breeze, so, even with the spinnaker, the best that we could manage was a couple of knots of boat speed, but at least the sea was very calm and the sun was shining.