|A bright sunny day on Floreana; we are soon to depart on a major ocean voyage, out of sight of land for many days.|
Saturday April 24, 2004 (Day 27 in the Galápagos Archipelago, Day 1 of the Easter Island Passage)
When we went to check-in yesterday, we were thinking that we'd stay at Isla Floreana today, but frankly there's not much to do. We won't be able to visit Post Office Bay and we saw the whole town yesterday. Last night our mood was changing and this morning, we decided to leave for Easter Island instead of staying the extra day. Unfortunately, we had told the Port Captain yesterday that we would come in today at 10:00 a.m. to check-in. What to do?
What we decided was to prepare the boat for departure then call the Port Captain on the radio and tell him we wanted to leave right away. If he insisted we come ashore to check-in, we would do so, otherwise we would depart forthwith. Marcie called the Port Captain on the radio numerous times but never got a response. Finally, just before 10:00 a.m., we hauled anchor and motored out of the anchorage, next stop: Easter Island, more than 1,880 nm distant.
After clearing the point of Floreana there was some good wind and we started sailing on a comfortable and reasonably fast reach. Unfortunately, as it is wont to do, the wind became fitful by mid-afternoon and it became harder and harder to keep sailing. On a long passage like this, we don't have the luxury of motoring through calms, since we need to reserve 120 hours of engine running time just to charge the batteries (two hours a day for the 60 days it will take to reach mainland Chile by way of Easter Island). This is a conservative figure and doesn't tap the 20 gallons in the jugs on deck. Plus, once we enter the tradewinds with their famously steady winds, we might get enough charge just from the wind generators and the solar panel.
In any event, we're on our way, and it will be a voyage of many days. This will be the longest non-stop voyage for all three of us. After nearly four weeks in the Galápagos Archipelago, the adventure continues in the next section as we sail to the most remote inhabited island on Earth: Easter Island.
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