At 0640 (UTC-5) on Monday 10th March, Adina crossed the Equator marking another milestone in our little adventure. Those milestones seem to be coming thick and fast at the moment! The sun was just coming up and as we crossed the wind joyfully picked up.
To mark the occasion we made appropriate offerings to Neptune. Susie offered a tot of her favourite sloe gin made by Charlie and Nicola Beausire, given to us as a present when we left England almost a year ago. Tom produced a tot of his favourite Isla whisky, some 16 year old Lagavulin. We hope Neptune enjoyed our offerings and looks kindly on us as we continue on our way. Susie did note there seemed to be quite a few birds waiting around on the water…
As it stands we should arrive in the Galapagos Islands later today. Murphy’s law, it’s going to be a night time arrival so we’ll be anchoring in the dark subject to the bay not being too full and the moon still being up to light our way in. When we set out on this crossing our goal was to get a minimum of twelve hours of sailing under our belt, knowing we would then have sufficient diesel to motor the rest of the way in the doldrums. Hence our hasty departure Tuesday night when the forecast showed some wind in the Las Perlas islands. It was a good decision as we hear daily on the radio of more and more boats accumulating in the Las Perlas waiting for wind to depart. Expecting the journey to take anywhere between 7 to 10 days, we now stand to make it in just over 6 days. The winds have been kind and we’ve only motored around 30 hours total, mainly at night time when the wind disappeared completely. Indeed, Adina has romped along flying at 6-8 knots and we’ve not pushed her.
More importantly, Amiable and Field Trip have become friends. We talk daily at 9am and 6pm sharing weather information and chatting about life on board. While we have met the crew of Amiable in Las Perlas, we hope to meet up with Field Trip who are heading to San Cristobal with us.
A highlight so far has been the dolphins. There are much larger pods in the Pacific, usually 30 to 40 at a time. And while they don’t stay with us as long as the Atlantic dolphins, they are a lot more playful. You see them approaching in big pods from port or starboard, dashing towards us, leaping out of the water, many doing spectacular flips. They play with the boat for a while and then drift off. It’s a real show and we’re certainly not tiring of it.
Today we start preparing the boat for the host of officials who will swarm on her to check she complies with all of the strict Galapagos regulations. We intend to stop the boat during the day today to give the hull a final clean. Did we mention these waters are favoured by hammerhead sharks? It will be Tom doing that cleaning! Then we just have to pray and hope. People ahead have said it’s a bit of a lottery – you can end up having a thorough and rigorous check and they will send you offshore for more cleaning if not happy. The last boat in had two divers and six park officials check their hull! Also, Susie has gone through all of our food to make sure none of it falls foul of their rules. But everybody reports something being taken off the boat by officials with blue gloves! We’ve prepared as best as we can.
On a more positive note, we can’t wait to see the wildlife. Radio talk has been about the best methods to keep sea lions from lying on your boat’s rear steps. While apparently it’s fun and novel, they do smell somewhat. Fenders don’t seem to work, they just push them aside. Truth be told, we haven’t quite worked a system out and arriving tonight we’re prioritising sleep over protecting our rear steps in the dark!