Sailing to the Galápagos Archipelago

On Passage

Jelly, the ship's cat, in one of her favorite fair-weather roosts. For a little amusement we sometimes poke Jelly from underneath the dodger then rapidly move our finger around under the fabric. All Jelly can see is a bump in the fabric that scurries hither and thither like a mouse under a carpet.  

We are traveling near the equator where the weather patterns are not very forceful or distinct, so the air just seems to "hang around" with little weather activity. The days are usually warm to hot with a lot of sunshine. The sky is a kind of murky, hazy, mottled blue—definitely not what you'd call crystal-clear. There are frequent high scattered clouds, with some middle and occasionally even lower clouds. We have seen rain beneath a cloud or two, but it seems to be rare and we haven't had any rain ourselves. It's fairly humid during the day, but if you stay in the shade of the bimini and don't exert yourself, you don't really sweat much. Towards evening the humidity increases markedly and the horizon becomes indistinct due to haze. The sunsets have been colorful but the sun usually disappears into the murky haze before it reaches the horizon.

The ocean looks a rather lurid blue, although the luridness disappears when using polarizing sunglasses. Then it looks medium colonial blue. There are slow undulations from swell, sometimes from more than one direction. On top of the swell there are slight ripples from the light wind; in some places the water looks smooth due to the lack of wind and wind ripples.

When it's windy enough to sail, the wind ripples increase to small choppy wavelets. The best wind is when there are occasional slight whitecaps, where the top of a wavelet just falls over making a temporary white crest. This wind will make for nice sailing—strong enough to move us along at a pretty good clip but not so strong that sailhandling is difficult or there is a lot of heel. Sometimes there is so little wind that there are big patches of nearly glassy water, with slow undulations from the swell moving through. Needless to say, if we want to make it through these areas, we have to motor or wait for the wind to come up.

The water depths through most of the trip have been about 1500 meters, which is so deep it doesn't register on the depth sounder. As we get closer to the islands, the depth reduces to 120 to 300 meters or so, which is still too deep to register. Once we get real close, approaching the anchorage, it will be shallow enough that the depth sounder will give us an accurate reading.

Cruising Lifestyle

Here are some typical daily activities: Marcie spends time preparing meals, reading about the destination and planning upcoming activities, working on her computer (writing articles or processing pictures), reading, etc. David spends time maintaining the boat, using the radio and Pactor system, handling other technical details, reading, fishing, etc. I spend time writing in my journal, taking pictures, reading, etc.

We all spend lots of time staring out across the ocean, alone with our thoughts, watching the water pass by as the boat slowly bobs and rolls. Despite the long hours and low workload, time usually passes quickly and before you know it, it's afternoon and then dusk, then it's time for bed. Come morning, you wake up and start the cycle over again. There's a routine sameness to it all, but with enough activity and variation so it doesn't become boring.

One day while I was working on the computer in the saloon, all of a sudden the engine slowed and I heard the fishing reel buzzing merrily. I rushed to get my camera and went on deck but by then David was reeling in an empty line. It must have been a big fish since it broke the line right away. We were all looking forward to fresh fish and even fresh sushi. Marcie has all the ingredients to make authentic sushi, including the special paper-like seaweed you use to wrap up sushi rolls.

In the early evening just at dusk, several dolphins came over to the boat and cavorted at the bow. There was just enough light to see them moving around under the water, a few feet under the surface. They would veer from one side of the bow to the other, back and forth, and periodically arc upwards, breaking the surface to take a breath.

A composite of three dolphin pictures.  

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