03:05.70S 095:53.95W Whale watch ing breakfasts and the Diva’s Re turn. The Early South Pacific.

Wed 22 Jun 2016 16:24

Whale watching breakfasts and the Diva’s Return. The Early South Pacific.

Sailing south of the Galapagos the ocean is alive with life. The only tropical  (Waved) albatross and swallow tailed gulls swing by us and two types of tiny petrels, Elliots and White Vented, with its white chevron from wings to tail are numerous, but surprisingly no one knows where they nest.

Zoonie moves out from under the grey gloom into an ocean of blue with more help from the South Equatorial Current than the wind.

Distant spray and sunlight glisten on leaping dolphins and the frenzied flight of chased flying fish are testament to the life beneath.

The ocean sighs. Inhaling and exhaling it lifts and lowers us so at night we spot a single light from a fishing boat on the rise and lose it in the trough. A gannet flies so low I can see the reflection of its white belly in the water.

At 10.30 on the 19th June, Day 6 we have reached our Galapagos waypoint with 570 miles done and just 2993 to go!

At tea time a big turtle bumps along our hull and feet away a giant ray leaps from the water and flops back in a pool of spray. I wondered if they were travelling companions, Rex the ray and Tex the turtle.

But the greatest treat so far was to be sailing gently across a sea of sperm whales. On first glance they look similar to humpbacks but they have long ridges along their backs and a long, flat and wide head. They blow from a vent only on the left side of their head, and that is what confirmed their identity to us. We could see them breaching on the horizon a good safe distance from us, thank goodness!

They filled the water from horizon to hull on our starboard side and were happy to be making their lanquid, 2 knot progress just feet away from us.

The next morning they were still all around us at breakfast time and Rob spotted pygmy sperm whales at our stern that did not blow visible spray.

We make our identifications from Hadoram Shirihai and Brett Jarret’s excellent book, Whales Dolphins and Seals, A Field Guide to the Marine Mammals of the World.

Progress is good in light winds and we have exceeded 120 miles on a couple of day runs. The grib files suggests there is more wind on its way but until then Zoonie is sailing well.

21st June Day 8 Referendum Day minus 2.

I spoke too soon, last night the wind fell light and we motored till 8.04 this morning, when the Diva (cruising chute) returned, fresh from her sojourn through the opera houses of South America. She is now pulling us along at 5+ knots in a light wind, welcome back ma’am.

So far we have used around 68 ltrs of fuel and are nearly a quarter of the way across. We are carrying around 500 ltrs so we feel comfortable with our consumption so far.

Today’s ocean is bringing only petrels our way so maybe we are out of the whale migration route for now.

The fresh food is holding up well. One fermenting pineapple had to be jettisoned as it looks as if it was about to explode but we still have the other pineapple, papaya, apples, limes and oranges and plenty of vegetables.

22nd June Day 9

At 5.10 this morning we arrived at the SE Trades proper, 13 knots of wind at present. The Diva came offstage after a magnificent performance lasting 21 hours and giving us 112 miles at an average of 5.3mph. The stout genoa has replaced her and our speed remains similar at 5-6knots.

We are passed the quarter way mark. The True Wind, Boat Speed and Current Direction displays worked for a brief moment before going on strike again. We will do a factory re settings job when we are safely at anchor to see if we can clear the glitch that way.