Longtitude: 5° 46 S
Latitude: 102° 56 W
Course over ground: 260°
Speed over ground: 7-8 knots
True wind speed: 12-15 knots
Time: 10 am (Local Galapagos)
2,140 nautical miles to go!
Monday: Having covered 196 nautical miles in the past 24 hours, we have been zipping along averaging 8 knots, incomparable to when stuck in the doldrums covering 100 nm per day at around 3 knots. Our progress then is in part due to weather, but also to the Skipper knowing the boat better than on the Atlantic, and keeping La Cigale at right angles to the wind as much as possible.
It also helps that our new gennaker is a dream to put up and take down, compared to the faulty one we had on the Atlantic, that Incidence remade free of charge, so we can leave it up day and night, knowing that taking it down on short notice if need be, is pretty straightforward.
Now though, wind is coming from due East (93 degrees) which is possibly the worst thing for us and the gennaker ifs flapping a lot. We may have to go southerly only to retrace north later and are slowing down. Nothing eventful happened on my night watch, but Xav had a Chinese fishing vessel coming straight towards us on his. As we are both on AIS and visible on radar (we also check radar regularly in case boats out there don't have AIS), the Chinese saw us and changed course, while Xav put on our engine and speeded up, so they passed by with good 1.5 mile to spare rather than 0.5! It is worth remembering that while it often feels like we are the only boat on the ocean, we can never let our guard down.
This morning on dawn watch it renewed my resolve to give a second go to a book called "When Francis of Assisi came to the Galapagos" which I picked up in Santa Cruz. It is in Spanish, but that's not why it's hard work. It imagines Francis sent by God to modern-day Galapagos to see how it's all going and to help humanity there look after nature better. The prologue says it's a mysitical meditation, but it's more recounted as a children's story. I knew nothing of this when I bought it - I couldn't browse as it was wrapped in cellophane, and so had to by it on faith! Catherine then woke up and asked me to read a bit to her, and even she found it tedious. The Little Prince it is not! Still, I owe it to give it another go. Or, after forking out 25 dollars for it, it owes me a couple of pearls of wisdom at least!
Another reason it was an uncomfortable read was due to a sore coccyx, after 150 sit ups yesterday. That'll teach me! I'm following an Abs challenge app after being inspired by Swedish sailing friends (INDIAN SUMMER!) over Christmas. Some days I think just managing to stand upright is the most effective form of core pilates on a boat! The Skipper, meanwhile, is having to put more and more holes in his belt, or else wear his shorts fashionably low slung like a regular teen idol ;-)
Monday means back to the grind of home ed. With the Skipper out for the count, after his adrenaline-fuelled night watch, the kids had to make do with Mum's help for Maths. Francis had to figure out the temperature at which Fahrenheit and Celsius are equal through using simultaneous equations, and leading him through the process, getting him to figure the answer out for himself without showing him, well that was the moment of real magic and the reward of teaching, and a bonding exercise, not just in numbers.
In the afternoon we discovered we were under attack from killer squids! Three have landed on deck, huge bulging eyes, repulsively fascinating. OK, so they are tiny too, plankton killers at best, about the length of my hand. Still, quite extraordinary. More repulsive horror followed, this far more stomach churning, when Xav went to cut off a plantain from the branch and found a giant bug crawling on it. We have since cut off all the plantains from the tree, which thankfully we had always kept hanging from the stern, and turfed it overboard.
A quiz from Gail and Brian on DOL SELENE via email was a great distraction. They are running quizzes every few days for the boat kids, offering ice creams for every winner when we get to land, talk about an incentive!
Talking about energy, and food for thought, we are wondering about our own levels at the moment and if we shouldn’t have installed alternatives, or supplements, to our solar panels. We are getting a lot of amps through our solar panels until about 1pm, then the sun goes behind the sails and we are in negative territory, so we have to run our engine, albeit in idle as opposed to gear, as that burns less fuel. On the bright side, it means the kids are only running their computers when necessary for home ed (games like MineCraft and Civilisation using a large amount of battery power) and finding other means of distractions for their down-time. Like board games with each other!