Day 187, Year 1: Off to the Marquesas—Day 1
Date: Saturday, April 22, 2006
Weather: Winds E 15, Calm Seas
Daytime Temperature: 76 degrees F; Overcast, Clearing in the PM
Water Surface Temperature: 76 degrees F
Location: Passage from Galapagos to the Marquesas, Day 1
Miles to Go: 2987
We are underway and I’m not sure how to feel. We are already out of sight of land and will not see land again for about 25 days. That seems like a very long time, but I know that once we get into the passage, the time will go quickly. On this first day, however, I feel a bit apprehensive not knowing what to expect. Right now we are sailing along at 5 knots with about 15 knots of wind from the east, off our port quarter. Our course is 230 degrees which takes us basically southwest and we have about a six foot gentle swell. It would be fantastic if this could continue all the way to the Marquesas, but we know that is asking way too much. Our day did not start this way. We had only 5 knots of wind and had to motor sail until about two hours ago. We will continue on this course to about 7 degrees S, and then we will turn to the west and have the tradewinds behind us. Right now the trades are running ESE 15 to 25 knots in that area. But we won’t be there for a number of days, so we will just take one day at a time. And what we have right now is fantastic.
We had a great evening with friends at the Club Nautico last night. The Club Nautico is just a thatch roof on the beach. There is a bar and some tables and chairs under the covered area. Not fancy, but a great place to get together with fellow sailors. We were with Tom, Bette Lee, and Bob from Quantum Leap, Randy and Sherri of Procyon, Arni and Cam and their daughters Molly and Nancy of Jade out of Hong Kong, and Felix and Monica of Makani from Germany. Quantum Leap will be leaving the Galapagos in the morning and will be about a day behind us. We both plan to arrive in Fatu Hiva in the Marquesas, so we will see them again soon. We will also probably see Jade and Makani again in the Marquesas as well, but we don’t expect to see Randy and Sherri again until Tonga. They are flying home from Tahiti in August for a daughter’s wedding which means that they will be moving much slower than the rest of us through French Polynesia. We have really enjoyed getting to know them and do hope to meet in Tonga and sail to New Zealand at about the same time. We have also enjoyed getting to know Cam and Arni this week. Their daughter Molly is seven and Nancy is five. What a delight to watch these two in action. Molly is a very mature seven year-old and when I asked her she would be in second grade at home, she replied, “Oh no, I’m a first grader.” She speaks both Chinese and English fluently and was showing off her math skills to Tom last night. I asked her if she could multiply and she replied that she could only do that the Chinese way. Her comment was, “Much easier than the American way.”
Right this minute, I am sitting in the cockpit watching the largest fish we have ever seen jump high out of the water. They look like tuna but porpoise through the water like dolphins. And then all a sudden one will jump about five feet out of the water. We should have the fishing line out, but we are not sure what we would do with a fish this large. We have also been bird watching during the day. At first we were seeing groups of Blue-footed Boobies fly by and would see a lone Nazca Booby sitting on the water here and there. Now, later in the day, we are seeing groups of Nazca Boobies fly by, as well as small Galapagos Petrels. We will miss the birds of the Galapagos.
I will try to send my daily logs in the late afternoon on this voyage. Of course, late afternoon for us will change as we sail through the time zones. I think we go through six zones before we reach the Marquesas. I will try to note in the logs each day our time and Eastern Daylight Time. Right now we are still on Galapagos time which is two hours earlier than EDT.
It is time to fix dinner and start the evening watches. And unfortunately the wind is dying. We might be back to motoring for the night, but we did have a wonderful afternoon sail. And just for the record, we are currently sailing through something that looks like Sargasso weed. A first I thought it was Red Tide as the water looked reddish, but on closer observation, I think the red color was just the reflection of the late afternoon sun. Didn’t expect to see Sargasso weed out here, but I am sure there are many things that we will see that I didn’t anticipate.