Land – Ho!

The last couple of days we were really getting into the routine. I walked the boat in the evening and found a block on the wind vane lines about to go. I’m starting to wonder about the Schaeffer Ball Bearing Blocks.  So I replaced it. And truth be told, replacing it in the day light was much, much easier then at 2 am.  We’ve settled into our watch routine and have found the following day; although we are tired in the am, after the day naps we seem to be close to caught up.

And the swells too have settled down. Although the current is a real unknown. I’ve never thought much about having a speed indicator for the boat but have finally found a situation I would have liked one.  Mostly IMHO all I need to know is how fast I’m going over the ground, trim the sails set the course and check the GPS. But here with the funky water I would have been able to ascertain the currents.

Somewhere on day 6 we were going like a “Bat outa Hell”!  Water was flying by. We had a reefed Main and were flying the Yankee Jib. We’ve not flown the Staysail since up in the states. Water was flying by us about as fast as we’ve ever seen and our speed over the ground was between 5.8 its and 6.5 kts.  We reefed. W/ didn’t really like how the boat appeared to be over powered and I’ve learned to trust her instincts.  We reefed and slowed down to about 5ish kts. If I knew the boat speed through the water and the speed over ground I could might have ascertained what the current was. Not that it would have changed much. One learns to accept what one has 800 miles from the nearest continent.

Other times it seems like we’re barely moving through the water.  I would estimate the water by the boat at about 3 kts and yet the speed over ground is well into the 5’s.

Sunset West-Land South
Sunset West-Land South

We were making good time but as I figured it we would make land fall sometime this evening. And although I’ve gone in and anchored in the evening at two other landfalls (Bonaire and Cartagena) only one was mildly intelligent and the other we just got lucky with. On the Pan-Pacific  Net  in the am I had advised net control that we would park the boat off the N end of Isla San Cristobal, then in the am make land fall.  I sighted land just prior to Sunset and we sailed on a few more hours till we were about 10 nm North. And just about that time the wind died. I don’t mean it went light I mean it died. The sails hung limp on the rigging.  Well if we couldn’t heave to we could just lye a hull. That means pull all the sails in and drift. That we did. As the Sun set I furled the mainsail and we rolled in the Jib put the helm midship and locked the wheel. Then we floated. We made way between 0.3 and 1.25 kts in the direction we wanted to go.  After a good night’s rest (we still maintained watches), when false dawn arrived with an onset of dew we fired up the engine.

At least we tried. W/ turned the key and nothing.  As we were not in any danger I was dragging about checking things out. We now had the lights on on the panel and could barely see the instruments.  Need to figure out how to keep the moisture out of there!  I rummaged below and found the remote starter. SSCA (Seven Seas Cruising Association) paid off right there. I would never have purchased one had I not heard about it at the diesel seminar during one of the SSCA gams.  Amazingly I found it, connected the power to the solenoid and bedaubing, badaboom!  She fired right up. Away we went. Almost 3 kts.

As it was still dark and we were about 10 miles from the anchorage we motored slowly awaiting Sunrise. As the

Kicker Rock-Can You See it?
Kicker Rock-Can You See it?

Sun broke through the mist in the morn and crested the Volcanic Mountains of the Galapagos we carefully entered the harbor with our Quarentine flag up and our VHF on. Cetasia  was up (expecting us) as North Star too so we spoke to them about where to anchor and any incidentals we needed to know about the harbor. We anchored a bit back from the soon to be odiferuous Sea Lions, and N/W enough to avoid the traffic from the Galapagos cruise boats.  We’re almost out of the Sea Lion smell and I don’t think you can get away from the constant ferrying of passengers in and out from the small 20 – 100 passenger cruise boats.

Finally anchored, flags up, we clean up the boat and wait for our Agent.  He shows up about 5pm, collects our passports, tells us we can remove the Q Flag, and sets the stage for the most intrusive clear in to a new country we’ve had in almost 6 years of cruising.

Go Slow
Sail Far
Stay Long