So our time in the fabulous Galapagos Islands is nearly up. We’ve been here just over 4 weeks and without doubt it’s been a trip highlight.
But as much as we’d like to stay and play with the sea lions and penguins forever and a day, one must move on. We are looking to raise our anchor in the next two days (Saturday/Sunday) and set sail across the mighty Pacific Ocean to the Marquesas Islands. This is the longest passage on any cruiser’s round the world trip with a distance of 3000 nautical miles and it should take us approximately 21-24 days.
The Pacific Ocean passage is a little like our Atlantic crossing; you initially sail more south to seek the trade winds that will hopefully then blow you west across the ocean. In the Northern Hemisphere these are north-west trade winds while in the Southern Hemisphere they are south-east trade winds. Right now we’re sitting in the doldrums, more formally known as the ITCZ (Inter Tropical Convergence Zone), where the north-east trade winds and south-east trade winds converge and cancel each other out. Perfect for blissful windless days at anchor while exploring the Galapagos Islands!
We’re looking to head from our current equatorial position (00.58 South, 90.58 West to be precise) down to six/seven degrees south to find the trade winds. In addition, for this passage more favourable currents can be found further south. The bad news is we need to head into swell and waves to get there, with little wind and right now some confused seas are being reported. Furthermore we will also need to pass through a large band of thunderstorms and rain sitting at 4-5 degrees. So 3-4 days of being uncomfortable! But once we get down there we hope it will be beautiful happy sailing… And one more interesting fact – a few more days of the appropriate statistics and this year it being declared an El Nino! More on this in future blogs.
We are very fortunate to have friend James Alsop on board with us for the crossing. We know James from our days at London Corinthian Sailing Club and have raced with him quite a few times. James is an avid and very experienced dinghy racer so I’m sure he’ll be pushing Adina along nicely and we certainly hope to learn the odd trick or two from the Old Boy. (Note to Susie’s parents – is calling him ‘Old Boy’ suitable revenge for him coining you the ‘Senior Plumes’?)
So it looks like we’re all ready to go. We’ve had a week of preparing Adina as best we can and fingers crossed she’ll serve us well. The day before its last minute preparations, your nerves start jangling, light dinner, pop a sea sickness tablet, early night, hope to get some sleep and then head out into the big blue.