Welcome to the Maunie of Ardwall blog

This is the blog of Maunie of Ardwall. After a six-year adventure sailing from Dartmouth to Australia, we are now back in Britain.

Monday, 29 April 2013

To Galapagos - Day 6 and Maunie gets a passenger

Our position as at 22.00 UTC on Monday 29th April;
01 degrees 18 minutes north, 85 degrees 49 minutes west
At last we seem to have got away from the adverse current which was making our progress painfully slow and, for the past 24 hours, have been beating to windward and pretty much making our target course to the islands which are now 255 miles away. It's quite tough sailing after all that nice downwind stuff across the Atlantic but at least the boat doesn't roll as much; we just get used to living at a constant 20 degrees angle. WE're less tha 80 miles from the Equator but approaching it at quite an oblique angle so probably won't celebrate our line-crossing until tomorrow night.
We had some unexpected excitement as darkness fell last night when there was a sudden fluttering in the cockpit and a small sea bird, some kind of Tern, landed on the seats and skittered about trying to get a grip. It was clearly exhausted and allowed Graham to pick it up and place it on a coil of rope in a sheltered corner whilst it rested; we tried giving it fresh water and some rice but it just settled down and watched us, unfazed by our torch. We were worried that one of us would  accidentally sit on it during the night watch or that it'd just go and die on us so were relieved when it flew off a couple of hours later.
The bird wasn't the only unexpected stranger in this pretty empty stretch of ocean. The German yacht Voyager (only about 40 miles from us now) reported in the daily radio net that an open 18ft fishing boat with one outboard engine and two occupants suddenly came alongside them yesterday afternoon. There was a bit of a language problem but Voyager believed that they were trying to sell them fish! What an open boat like that was doing 300 miles from the nearest land is anyone's guess but we assume that there was a mother-ship somewhere in the vicinity; there was general relief that their intentions appeared to be friendly after all the stories of piracy elsewhere in the world (there are no reported problems of that nature here).
So, without tempting fate, we are beginning to think about our Galapagos landfall. There are three available ports of entry on the biggest islands and we are heading for Puerto Baquerizo Moreno on Isla San Cristobal, the most easterly of the islands. We're starting to think about likely arrival times as we don't want to get there in darkness. We should have a better idea of an ETA tomorrow and are looking forward to anchoring and returning the boat to the fully upright position once again.

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