The Alba Chronicles
Neville Howarth
Tue 25 Feb 2014 13:33



0:55.38S  89:05.44W


So far, we’ve done 515 miles with only 40 miles to go.  In the last 24 hours, we’ve done 150 miles.  As I write this I can see land and we're expecting to be safely anchored by mid-afternoon.  Here’s what we did yesterday and overnight.


24 February 2014   Bahia de Caraques to Galapagos, Ecuador (Day 4)

We persevered with bobbing along until noon, when it was decision time.  The GRIB file that I downloaded in the morning showed these light winds would continue for at least two days. 


We were 180 miles from our destination, we either motored now and arrive tomorrow afternoon or we take another two or three days to get there.  We'd probably have to motor each night because I wouldn't want to fly the spinnaker in the dark, so we decided that we'd might as well go for it and turned on the engine.


The rest of the day and night was uneventful. Motor-sailing along at 6-7 knots in the calm seas.  Once again we didn't have a single bite on our two fishing lines even though I deployed our normally lethal Cedar Plug.


Before we moved onto Alba, I ran a computer business that was based around Microsoft products, so for the last 30 years, I've been very anti-Apple products.  That was until we bought an iPad.  We initially bought it as a backup chart plotter because it has a GPS receiver built in and we were able to buy Navionics charts that cover the world (apart from Europe) for only $200.


The iPad is now a permanent feature in our cockpit when underway.  As well as using it for navigation, we use it a lot for reading PDF files - if we find interesting information on websites, we tend to print the web page as a PDF for reading later when we don't have internet access.  We have a great star gazing app which is useful for identifying stars and planets.  We have an app for identifying fish and I use it to make notes for the web site.  I've even started to watch movies on those long night watches - what would we do without it?


I spent most of the day and night on the iPad reading information that we've gathered on French Polynesia.  Once we get to the Marquesas, we'll be sailing 2,500 miles to New Zealand, sailing through seas with thousands of islands.  With only six months to spend in the area, it's a complex logistical exercise to work out what we want to see.  After 10 hours of research, I have a rough plan for the Marquesas and the Tuomotus - only another 1,800 miles to research.


At dawn, we were still motoring along in calm seas and 4-5 knot winds - ho hum...