After the ups and downs of the last couple of weeks, it may disappoint
some of our readers if things get somewhat more samey for the next week
or so. I'm afraid that I'm rather looking forward to some plain sailing
for a few days.
We started stage 3 from Las Perlas to the Galapagos islands
yesterday. 850NM direct, but we will probably have to do more miles in
order to keep the wind for as long as possible. The tactics are to head
slightly west of south from the start, using the last breathes of the
Atlantic trade winds that make it over the Panama Darien Gap in the
Pacific. These will peter out within a couple of hundred miles of the
coast and from there on we will be in the doldrums (or the ITCZ as it's
proper;y known). This is the area between the NE trades in the north
and the SE trades in the southern hemisphere where winds are light.
From then on it will be a motor or drift SW to the islands,
It's now about 4:00am and we are just about clearing the shipping lanes
leading to the Panama Canal. The wind and sea are very gentle and
we're bopping along at 6 knots SOG, helped by some current, I think.
The moon has just set and I now need to start to orientate myself with
the changing night sky. The Pole Star isjust above the horizon still,
but not identifiable and the sky to my south is all new to me.