Goodbye, Galapagos!

For the second time in a month we watched the Archipelago de Colon fade to a smear on the horizon as we motored out of Puerto Ayora and turned north. We could still see the faint outlines of Floreanna and Santa Cruz until night fell and we were left in total darkness because of heavy cloud cover. We had a late dinner of black bean chili and rice, then I took the first night watch.

The blackness was disorienting, what with no steaming light and only our deck level running lights. Even though we have AIS, I always felt confident that in a pinch I could light up the sails with our arch-mounted floodlight and give any passing ship a pretty good look at our size and characteristic. We still have the floodlight, of course, but no sails to illuminate. It’s awfully hard to get used to. Still, we work well under power and after we could make our northerly course we have the seas largely behind us and it’s not a bad ride.

About nine o’clock the clouds parted overhead and I could finally make out the horizon. Two gulls circled us all night long, flashing by as streaks of light and, as we saw in the daylight, leaving their mark on our deck and dodger.

Jack took over at midnight and we switched engines. The beauty of a catamaran — this catamaran — is that we have two equally comfortable aft cabins, one in each hull, and the off-watch can sleep in the one opposite to the engine we’re running. So I slept in the Presidential Suite, as my sister calls the guest cabin, and realized right away that I’d forgotten to address the annoying rattle of a barrel connector held by wire ties to the other side of the aft bulkhead. I discovered it first on our motor back to the Galapagos after the dismasting — no one had slept in that cabin under power before — and in our flurry of activity getting ready for the passage to Central America it just slipped through the cracks. Plus, getting to it requires the contortionist body of a Cirque du Soleil performer and a more dexterous left hand than I have, although I’m the one who installed it in the first place.

We’re making about 4.5 kts, considerably better than we did against the wind and current getting back to the Galapagos and about what we expected during these first few days. If you’re following our Spot (click the Where are we? link on the right) — if the satellites are picking us up — you’ll notice we probably won’t be motoring the rhumbline direct to Costa Rica. That’s because we’re trying to avoid adverse currents and take advantage of favorable ones.

Our job today is to think through our fuel transfer method. The big 17-gallon containers we took on to increase our capacity are too heavy to lift up to siphon height, but the alternative is a double-siphon scheme, first siphoning into a 5-gallon container, then siphoning that 5 gallons into the tank. This back and forth sounds way too boring to us so we’ll see if we can’t figure a more efficient way that won’t strain our backs.

As I write this the seas are building slightly. Jack just woke up and I’m going to take a nap.

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