Sunday, 24 May 2015

Day 15 Galapagos to Marquesas

Hi from Andrew,
We are now on Day 15 so to recap some statistics: We have taken 14 days to cover 2352 nautical miles from our departure in the Galapagos. This is at an average of 168 miles per day or 7 knots. We think that is a very respectable performance from a 39 foot production boat - go Eye Candy!

The boat appears to be holding up well except there is an increasing amount of biological growth showing at the stern so a good clean will be necessary when we arrive. I conduct inspections around the rig and in the steering compartment to be sure nothing nasty is brewing there. Amongst the group there has been a number of rigging failures, mostly D1 and D2 wires breaking. One boat 'Nelly Rose' sustained a broken shroud below deck level which caused the deck to start lifting and an Ausie boat "Sweet Chariot" lost its rudder. All these boats are Ok but not so for an American couple on "Navana Now" who also lost their rudder and consequently punched a hole in the boat. The couple transferred on to another boat and "Navana Now" was scuttled.

One aspect not going so well - the fishing. So far it is Fish 4: Eye Candy 3. By that I mean we have hauled aboard 3 fish (2 Mahimahi and 1 tuna) but lost two reels of line, three lures and 4 sets of hooks in 4 events. So I'm not so pleased. Seems the best way of saving my remaining hooks is to keep the fishing gear well away from the water. But the line is back in an I am hopeful again and it is nearing 2pm when we have had all our strikes so far this trip.

On another front, one cell in one of our two house battery banks has gone down. This has halved our useful capacity and we are just making it through to the morning before the solar panels can do their job. I have emailed ahead to Nuku Hiva, our destination in the Marquesas and the agent there is looking for a replacement and we await news.

Right now we are in 15 to 18 knot easterly wind with 1.5 m swell from the east. We have up the genoa poled out and a mainsail on the second reef. Not so much sail but we are getting along at 6.5 to 7.5 knots with an occasional surge forward from the seas. It is sunny buy there is cloud about so we may get wet yet.

We have 661 miles to go so about 4 days sailing at this speed.
Bye for now
Andrew & Clare

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Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Day 10 and half way there

Hi from Andrew Monday 18th May

Hi Everybody,
Well everything is going well on Eye Candy.
We continue to have good Trade winds from the SE in the 10 to 20 knot range. The seas have calmed down a little and we are left with the 1 to 2m wind waves.
Today marks the half way point from Galapagos to the Marquesan Islands. We are 1500 miles from the nearest land and this is the farthest from land you can be on the earths surface. It has taken us almost exactly 9 days to get here. That means an average of 168 miles a day at an average speed of exactly 7 knots. Quite an achievement for a little 39 foot production sailboat. However we have been helped with a bit of ocean current along the way. We put up our reaching spinnaker yesterday for about 10 hours and saw the speedo reach 9 knots with much time over 8 knots in a light SE breeze.
We also caught a small tuna and we have already seen to half of it with the other half tonight.
So with half way being reached the captain had a shave and a hair cut and a "shower day" was declared :) to clean up the mess.
Our radio nets continue to occupy me several hours a day with position reports from other yachts and yesterday I was able to arrange a "phone patch" from Eye Candy to my Dad in Hobart which was fantastic to be able to do from out here. It felt a bit like being on "24" and I dont think Jack Bower could do that! We have Fred at his Ham radio station, W3ZU in Florida, to thank for that being possible. I had previously called Matthew for his birthday a few days earlier.
We are using one radio net in the morning and two in the evening plus our Delorme satellite tracker sending position reports every 4 hours so we should be found if the need arises.
Bye for now
Andrew and the resting Clare

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Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Galapagos – Marquesas Day 4

Hi from Clare, Tuesday 12th May

It is day 4 of our trip and all is well on Eye Candy. We are running with three hour shifts and have adjusted to the new routine; we now sleep as soon as we put our head on the pillow. We have had a few rain squalls but basically the weather is pleasant with sunny days and warm nights. The first 36 hours was bumpy with choppy conditions; not very comfortable. However we are now experiencing longer intervals between the 2-3 metre swell on our beam. When we left the Galapagos we were at 0 degrees, we are heading south west to 6degreesS and 100degreesW before we turn west. We should be there tomorrow afternoon and once we turn west the waves will be more behind us and even more comfortable; we hope:)

The highlight of the trip so far is that we heard Andrew's Dad, Charles in Hobart on the Ham Radio a few nights ago. We had checked in our position with net control on The Pacific Seafarers Net and then later we head Charles talking to net control. We couldn't quite hear what he was saying but nevertheless it was a thrill to know he was there. It's a bit like seeing the Southern Cross every night, that's a thrill too.

The lowlight of the trip is that we haven't caught any fish. We have hooked three but they have all got away; the first one took our lure and a lot of line. Don't these silly fish know we are looking for some protein; still it is only day four.

Hi from Andrew,

Just a few details. We departed Isabella Island on Saturday 9th May and it is now Tuesday afternoon (12th May). So far we have sailed 526 miles in the 76 hours for an average of 6.9 knots or about 165 miles per day. Our course is taking us to a point 6S and 100W to get down to the reliable SE trade winds and favourable currents but the winds seem pretty reliable to date. We have sailed the whole way so far but some yachts ahead of us have motored for 3 days south to get good wind. Once there we will turn westwards along 6S towards the Marquesas. The whole journey will be 3000 miles and take about 3 weeks.

So far we have been able to manage on our solar panels alone for power, not having to use diesel for charging.
At the moment we have 15 to18 knots from the SE and 2 to 3m swells. The sailplan is Main 3 reefs and genoa about 40%. this is plenty when the wind gets up to 20 knots and enough to keep us moving in the lulls. The small main helps reduce the slewing around in the lumpy seas. The autopilot has steered us all the way making live very easy on watch. Lets hope it all keeps going well.

Love Candy xx

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Saturday, 9 May 2015

We begin tomorrow

Hi from Clare,

We will commence our 3000 mile journey to the Marquesas tomorrow. All is well at this end and we are looking forward to the adventure. I will write a brief note to the Blogsite a couple times a week, so stayed tuned. The trip should take us around three weeks to complete.

I must dash off as there is still a bit to do in preparation for the morning.

love Candy xx

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Sunday, 3 May 2015

5/2015 Galapagos

Hi from Clare 1st May 2015

No 5 Galapagos

We left Las Perlas Islands on 15th April and sailed to the Galapagos Islands. The weather forecast showed little wind for the next week or more and so we anticipated motoring for a large proportion of the 1000 mile trip. However once out at sea we found both wind and current and much to our delight we completed the distance in 7 days and 6 hours averaging 5.7 knots of boat speed sailing on a relatively flat sea. This was one of our best trips ever and an absolute pleasure to be out on the water. It is also wonderful to be in the Southern Hemisphere now and see the Southern Cross every night.

Since arriving in Port Villamil on the peaceful island of Isabela we have met up with five other boats from our daily Radio Net; Saraoni, Moonfleet, Macushla, Jacaranda and Flying Cloud. So we are having a very social time with happy hours and various excursions.

The most amazing thing about the region is the abundant sea life. It's a full time job keeping the seals off the boat and out of the dinghy. At first they are cute but rather disgusting once they have defecated. The dinghy dock has a shaded area and some lovely bench seats which I'm sure are supposed to be for humans but the seals have claimed them for sleeping throughout the day. Iguanas lie around in the sun and penguins dart about in the water near the dock.

We went on a guided snorkelling trip to The Tunnels. The area is about 20 miles along the coast and it's a rather hair-raising ride by power boat through the rolling surf before arriving in calm waters behind the reef. The tunnels (which look like bridges to me) are volcanic rock and formed by a lava flow which has been eroded later by the sea. This area is home to giant 300 year old Candelabra Cactus, bright red crabs and the Bluefooted Booby bird; a very attractive fellow who displayed some steps of his ritual dance to attract the female. We then went snorkelling outside the reef area to see white tip reef sharks, giant green turtles, penguins and a sea horse or two. Unfortunately the visibility was very poor and underwater photos were impossible. I just about bumped into a giant green turtle before I saw it.

A group of ten of us went on a trip up into the hills and visited a 30 acre organic farm to purchase fruit and vegetables and then on to a wonderful restaurant for a smorgasbord lunch. We had a sweeping view of the lush valley below stretching out to the sea. I know I have mentioned it before but lush green vegetation is such a feast for the eye when living on the water and seeing mostly blue.

Yesterday we visited the Giant Tortoise Breeding Centre where hundreds of tortoises are being raised to adulthood before being released into the wild. The tortoise can live for 150 years but is a threatened species due to introduced predators eating the eggs and newborns. I think the largest tortoise we saw was about 100 years old. Not the most attractive creature but they hold the distinction of being the oldest reptiles on earth.

The township of Villamil has sand streets and made footpaths. There isn't a building code and so the shops are mixed in amongst the houses and businesses. The shops themselves carry whatever they can acquire and so shopping is hit and miss. One week there are vegetables and the next week there are very few. Even when there are vegetables you have to fossick around to find tomatoes in one shop, pineapple and apples in another, a cucumber in another shop and potatoes somewhere else. The selection is very basic and I'm still searching for an onion. There is some frozen red meat which is hard to identify and in another shop a few frozen chooks (note I didn't say chickens), these are best cooked in the pressure cooker. The bread from the bakery is very sweet, however the local cheese is lovely. Fortunately Eye Candy is well stocked and so we only have to seek out fresh produce.

On Monday we are taking the ferry to the island of Santa Cruz for three days. This is the main tourist destination where people fly in to take tours of the islands on live aboard vessels. We have no idea what we will find but I will tell you more in our next newsletter.

Love Candy xx