Pacific Ocean, in the company of birds
Position 00 ° 15 ‘North 087 ° 52’ West
Miles traveled by Las Perlas 750, missing 102 Galapagos
Constant wind from the southeast from 12 to 16 knots, oceanic sky, but different from that of the Atlantic, with stratified clouds on the horizon and flashes of blue, however paler. air temperature around 28 degrees, constant even at night, pleasant at any time of day.
We have been sailing for two days now, and we have forgotten the calm and we are in the running for our rally, recovering on those who have carried on in calm with the Volvo and Yanmar winds.
During the day we infuse Ariel as much as possible, and she is happy, while at night we prefer to keep a low profile, more suited to a few hours of sleep and in safety, so as not to find ourselves maneuvering in a hurry for a lump, a companion always present in the ocean navigation; however, even with white sails with the trident we spin at 8 knots, while we go up to 9 with code zero and yankee.
However, attention is increasingly focused on the destination, the Galapagos archipelago, the dream of many naturalists but known by all as the only place in the world where the commitment of multi-government world forces (UN) allows to preserve an ecosystem as it was at origins of its formation. We have established on board a procedural code of strict compliance with the parameters within which we will have to stay in order not to be chased from the islands, even if everything clashes when we observe floating debris, not always part of the natural cycle, such as trunks or branches, but of certain origin human neglect, where plastic dominates unchallenged.
We must point out that the Atlantic is apparently cleaner, at least until now.
But something in the air changes as the miles go by, and apart from a few moments where huge unknown fish peep out showing black fins and sinuous curves in a slow swim, what surprises us most are the birds, in unimaginable numbers and of different types. from our well-known, both from the large wingspan, gray with the blue beak (it looks a lot like the blue-footed Sula, it will be its cousin, since it certainly has a beak of blue, and the muzzle looks like a Venetian mask), and other small, blacks with a white stripe in the tail, (maybe Darwin’s finch?) and other white, elegant, certainly females, while we still don’t know if the bigger ones that whirl without stopping are the slow and lazy Albatros, or the Cormorant or instead we think they are the most skilled and fastest frigates.
Two of them, “Hugo” and “Hanna” the gray and the white lady, stop at the bow for hours and let themselves approach, without fear. Hugo and not Ugo for the almost French elegance of their bearing, to remind people of art, and Hanna and not Anna for a level playing field. Hugo does a lot of poop in the bow, but he is nice and we forgive him. He stays, then goes away, but he invariably comes back and gets into his usual place, on the bow pulpit, upwind of the tail, and combs his hair, cleans his tail, and shits. Last night 5 or 6 people arrived, Hugo called his friends because they felt that there was the scent of pizza on board and you never know, some leftovers … because Ariel’s pizza sends scents into the air to entice other than the turtledoves !
We feel that we are about to enter a piece of ocean that is a prelude to the largest mass of water on the planet, the entire Pacific Ocean, and for 5,000 miles we will have nothing but water and a few atolls, the curtain of this opens precisely with the the last islands before the jump, the Galapagos, where man and animal live almost equally.
I’m 90 degrees west of Greenwich and on the equator line, just a few degrees south. (today, in fact, Ariel will take us to pass 00 ° 00 ′ around 13, to enter the southern hemisphere) – I was saying an archipelago of 13 major islands and 6 smaller ones, but with a name, and dozens still without a name. Only 5 are inhabited and we will land in San Cristobal, and we will also be able to visit Santa Cruz with our boat, while others we have decided to explore them with local tourism agents, although we can also sail to Isabela with Ariel. This choice derives from the fact that the authorities want, when they get on board, a detailed plan at the mile and time of the transfers that we should decide to do alone, therefore we will limit ourselves to moving a bit of local economy, limiting the passage under sail to a single island.
They all have two names, one Spanish and one English, to bring back names of pirates or nobles of the British crown or of Iberian land, but since 1892 the government of Ecuador has chosen a name for each island, and despite many nautical charts still in use. with the double name, officially we must comply with the new (so to speak) regulations. Incidentally, for the islands of Las Perlas I found a map from 1928, which is the most recent !. So there hasn’t been any nautical cartography in these parts for quite a while.
The ocean flows under our keel and we quickly approach the goal. There are 114 miles left, while South America no longer protects us and the swell of the South Pacific begins to enter, and at the helm the dance resumes, although the wind angle is 60 °, so as they say in jargon, di upwind, where the inclination usually makes life on board a little more uncomfortable, but not on Ariel, where our heel remains confined to 10 ° and we can sit at the table for a “continental” breakfast before the SSB radio connection at 9 , and the calculation of the position with the sextant with the three measurements for the sundial and for the calculation of longitude, also no longer a secret. Margherita uses the Anglo-Saxon system for the calculation of the height line, while I the Italian one,however I must say that the comparison is always useful and I am looking for a simple and fast method, to be standardized on Ariel, which can become useful to all those who want to learn more about the art of sailing. We have 3000 miles of pacific to fine-tune our method.
See you next time from Ariel’s team