Skip to main content

South Pacific Launch AKA Tradewinds? What Tradewinds?

Ruth II

13th March
Departed Santa Cruz in the Galapagos at 13:30 under power. After a careful stow and flaking of the anchor, we motored west along the coast. Earlier that morning we hiked to Tortuga Bay. It was a beautiful walk through mangrove trees, mixed with pear cactus and leather leaf trees, seemingly growing straight out of basalt rocks. We arrived at the first beach at Tortuga Bay which was broad and open, with very soft white sand. It gently shelved into the ocean. Not a surfing beach, we were assured by Andrew. There were plenty of fresh sea turtle tracks from the beach to the dunes behind. Clearly, there had been a busy night of excavating and egg laying. Towards the end of the beach there were several marine iguanas basking under the mangroves. They were completely unfazed by our presence. A short walk away was a large sheltered bay with a second beach. It was completely surrounded by mangroves, which probably accounted for the cloudy green tinge to the water. Of course it was clean, as you'd like the expect in the Galapagos, so we went for a swim. We soon had company as we spotted a marine iguana in the water a bit further down the beach. We saw two more heads in the water, too far away to tell if they were iguanas our turtles. Mary and Eibhe encountered turtle on the same beach a few days earlier. Back on and the boat, we were now motoring past Tortuga Bay. It was striking to see the land stretching back into the hills, and how completely devoid of signs of human life it appeared. A rare thing to see any more. I feel really privileged to have been able to visit these remarkable islands. We started to peel away from Santa Cruz, in the direction of Isla Isabela and the volcanic island, Isla Tortuga. It's a horseshoe shaped island. I can't tell you too much more about it, as a characteristically rapid equatorial sunset, robbed us of day light before we reached it.
Our first night at sea was dimly lit by the moon trying to break through the clouds. Motoring against 2kts of current. Log at midnight 60 nautical miles

14th of March 2022
I woke to our first full day at sea to the sound of the furlers deploying the genoa and mainsail. It was wonderful to wake to a full spread of canvas and the engine noise replaced by the sound of water rushing down the side of the hull. It didn't last for very long though, as the light wind became lighter. The engine was called back into service. We could still faintly see the Galapagos, reminding us that we were still at the starting line of a very long voyage. Spending 3 weeks at sea, with so many daily distractions removed, affords great opportunies to improve yourself. I was threatening to use the time to
learn to play the trumpet or bagpipes. Sensing a dangerous atmosphere at the suggestion, I decided to improve other areas of the myself. When Mary suggested a daily fitness program, I decided I should take her up on it. So began her exclusive South Pacific Foredeck Gym. She brought a few innocent
looking straps, elastics and a yoga mat and proceeded to hurt me for an hour and a half. In the afternoon, we carried out a man overboard drill. We had of course carried out a couple of drills before in Dublin Bay, many months ago, so we knew more or less, what we needed to do. It ran fairly smoothly, but it was a bright sunny day on a flat sea, with a fender. I think we were all thinking the same thing, let's avoid at all costs carrying this out for real! We rewarded ourselves with an elective man overboard drill, where we all jumping in for a refreshing and slightly surreal swim. The thoughts of a passing curious shark or the abyss under us, pushed to the backs of our minds, but always there. A fantastic experience. Linda hasn't been feeling well. Queeziness mixed with a significant headache has put her almost completely out of action. Almost. She managed the swim. Her feet are swollen, which suggests that she's experiencing seasickness and heatstroke.
We're medicating and hydrating her. She's trying to get as much sleep as possible.
Motorsailing against 2 kts of current.
Log at midnight 206 nautical miles.

Day 3
15th March 2022
Linda was feeling worse today. She was very queezy but possibly of more concern, she had a very severe headache. We suspected that over exposure to the sun, from hiking and diving in the Galapagos, in our effort to see as much as possible, was the likely culprit. In an effort to understand her situation better and take the appropriate steps, it was decided to phone the doctor. After a very helpful call, Mary checked Linda's vital, administered pain killers and seasickness tablets and, interestingly, reduced her fluid intake, as it was deemed to be exasperating the headache. Sleep would do the rest. She wasn't so bad, that she was unable to summon me to remove a flying fish from the heads. The hatch through which he made is entrance was closed. The meds, a good night's sleep and Mary's care and attention did the trick.
Linda is much improved.
Log at midnight 345 nautical miles

Day 4
16th of March 2022
Going through the food stocks, it's impressive how aggressive the tropics are with fresh food. A sift through the fruit and veg reveal soft, over ripe or just plain rotting food. Whatever is deemed usable, a lower bar than we'd apply on land, is either used in the next meal or chopped/cooked and frozen
for later use. Two untouched but completely green loaves of bread were heaved over the side
today. We'll soon start our master baking course, once the last slice of mouldy bread is eaten or tossed.
So as we waste as little fresh food as possible. We're engaging in, what Mary has described as 'panic eating', in a race against rot. Our chillies were getting soft. James suggested stringing them and drying
them in the sun, which seemed like a brilliant idea, until the relentless torrential rain started.
One of the fascinating aspects of an ocean crossing is the need to stand back to observe and understand weather systems, in order to plot your course. Sitting on a boat in the ocean, and seeing how the cloud formations and conditions relate to the information from the instruments and weather charts, is something that we rarely do when racing around the cans. The information that we are getting now, from our instruments and eyes, is not good.
The rain is here to stay for the next few days.
Log at midnight 477 nautical miles

17th of March 2022
St Patrick's Day started with the feeling that we had somehow drifted into the Irish Sea. It was grey and raining, with the wind blowing up to 20kts. You half expected the Dublin to Holyhead ferry to suddenly appear out of the mirk. St Patrick's Day parade weather. James, never one for varnishing facts, proclaimed that this will last for days. Sometimes I wish people would leave me in blissful ignorance. Some guy called Mr Tibbs (surely a pet cat's name) is the source of James's bleak forecasts. As the day wore on, the rain stopped and patches of blue started to appear. It was actually a not unwelcome break from the seering equatorial sun and the threat of serious sunburn. We had to dazzle James with an Irish speciality to mark the day. Colcannon was the dish we settled on, to best represent our glorious culinary history. If James was indeed dazzled, he has a great poker face. We didn't care. We were too busy washing it down with a glass of Guinness. We continued to press south, in order to get well into the trade winds.
Log at midnight 650 nautical miles


Post a Comment