Fiu in Adriatic
Galapagos Archipelago to Marquesa Islands (3000 nautical miles).
Tuesday, 27 July 2004
3:30 PM leaving Villamil for Marquesas – overcast, wind 10-12 kn SE. The other boats, Holly B, Alexander III and Music will follow tomorrow morning.
Wednesday, 28 July 2004 – first day on the ocean
12:00 PM made a good progress during the night – in 20 hours we made ~170 nm or 147 nm in water – meaning current gave us approx 1 nm per hr. Our daily run will be probably close to 200 nm. Log: 13763 nm trip: 148 nm
Since this morning wind is low, 10 to 12 kn and our speed 5-7 kn, current is still helping us.
Breakfast – biscotti with soft cheese, 3 oranges and grapefruit, pre-breakfast at 5 am, Susan was freezing cold and hungry and fried 8 bananas on a bit of butter, orange juice and rum!! It was delicious, although a bit too early!
Lunch – curry with rice – hot and spicy!
At 15:30 our position was 2.12S 94.00 W or 200 nm in the first 24 hrs from the port of Villamil – good progress from our first day on the ocean. Our trip log recorded 173 nm – the difference is contributed to the current.
Nice sunny day, finally came out of cold, overcast winter! Temperature is 24C and we are still making 6-8 kn with 13 to 15 kn SE wind.
Thursday, 29 July 2004 our second day on the ocean
It is Ivo’s birthday today - we celebrated this a few days ago with the other yachties so that we at least had a semblance of a party for his birthday! Susan made vegetable lasagne for lunch and had a rich cake (fruit, marcipan and icing) with barbie doll candles. A few presents too and a birthday card which everyone had signed the other evening. So although just the two of us, it did resemble a birthday even if we are about as far away as we can get from the rest of the world.
Our position at 3.30pm is 3.14.409S & 96.44.222W and our log is 13949. With current pushing us the mileage is 383 nm, or 183 nm on water since yesterday . Wind SE 15 kn average.
Friday, 30 July 2004 day 3
1:30 PM log 14121, trip 506nm, smooth sailing – night relatively slow but wind picked up at dawn – and since then it was 17 to 30 kn ESE, good sailing!
Collected 6 flying fish from the deck – cleaned, ½ kg, will be for dinner next to the leftover veggie lasagne that Susan made for my birthday.
Breakfast – fried banana pancakes… Ivo is turning into banana processing plant!!
We decided to put out the fishing lines to see what the sea might bring us. And WOW – our biggest line, the one meant for 250 kg fish and over – the line that should never break – well it broke! We caught a huge sailfish whilst speeding broad reach at 8 knts plus, so no chance to slow down quick. Within a few seconds the fish pulled out all the line – 150 meters or so and then the line just snapped! 3 mm line snapped just like a strand of hair! Poor thing, we could see it jumping high out of the water many times, with hook and line attached. Such a big fish, no way would we have been able to bring it in. Ivo is depressed again and now decided to go spend a day with one of these big offshore game fishing expeditions to see how they manage when they catch the big one. When we are back in Australia of course.
At 15:30 trip was 524 nm and we were ~590 nm from Isabela - current is still with us!
Saturday, 31 July 2004 day 4
12:05 PM Log: 14297 nm, trip 682 nm and we are 750 nm from Isabela. Since yesterday's noon position made 177 nm.
After the sunset accompanied by a big school of dolphins – have never seen so many dolphins in a group – they were coming from all sides and swamped the area around and in front of Fiu.
Sunday, 1 August 2004, Day 5
12:00 PM Bft 6-7, ESE making 8-9 kn, daily run 210 nm since yesterday noon (at 15:30 will be nearly 1000 nm in 5 days, or average 200 nm a day!)
Monday, 2 August 2004, Day 6
12:09 PM nice sunny day [well a nasty squally and overcast weather front has just passed after 24 hours of strong winds] , temperature: 27 C, during the night overcast and rain – good sailing, a bit squally and slow during the night.
Noon position: 6.49 N, 108.58 W. Wind, ESE, 20-30 kn, speed 7-8-9 kn, our last 24 hr run 194 nm!
Brunch – flambé banana pancakes with rum and lemon – huge quantity .. all sick of bananas .. coming out of our ears .. bananas, oranges, grapefruit were so dirt cheap in Galapagos that we just can't get rid of the huge stock we have .. Susan is looking forward to a decent steak!
6:50 PM just caught our first two bonitos on this trip – both at the same time – small, ~1 kg each. We let one go – still do not feel like eating fish – too much food .. waiting for a dorado !
Wonderful sailing now – magnificent tall waves a deep blue colour and the sky too. It is suddenly shower time now that the weather has improved again and the sun is out!
Flying fish becomes our option for Catch of the Day – in fact what sort of restaurant can claim to have their fish arrive at their doorstep all by themselves, ultra fresh from the sea?
After 6 days at sea we begin to have thoughtful conversations about “the meaning of life” and other such profound thoughts. It certainly is an ideal forum for introspection and meditation as well as pondering our general insignificance in the greater scheme of things.
We do settle into some sort of routine – partly because we must carefully manage our sleep requirements so as not to be too sleep deprived and also because each day and night seems to resemble each other and merge into a stream of moments punctuated by meals, sleeping, steering, radio contacts, reading, talking, and more sleep and food. The days go so quickly and the nights can be so long – but perhaps that is also due to the fact that we are still on Galapagos time and we must by now be about two hours out of sync with the sunrise and sunset.
We have had over the past few nights the most wonderful full moon so bright that it was like sailing down a fully lit avenue. When the moon then disappeared for the night we have the most incredible starlit sky – the immensity of the universe takes your breath away.
Tuesday, 3 August 2004, 9:32 PM, Day 7
Food, food, food – we are putting on weight I am sure – made a lovely soup with remaining vegetables – did not know for example that carrots could still be ok once you cut and scraped off the sticky mouldy stuff (yuk!!), and then a rice coconut curry and then we caught bonito… phew – too much food.
I’ve stopped making cakes and baking bread, we need to catch up first with the more urgent food consumptions.
Just received new weatherfax – wind as predicted by the Book! E-SE all the way to Marquesas.
Wind as predicted!!! Nonsense. It is early afternoon and we have just had an hour of real stormy weather. Luckily we were outside already considering how to reconfigure sails in order to goosewing. So some preparation had already taken place earlier and when the wind freshened even more – we consider normal when its 20-25 knts – and we had to make the decision do we go ahead and goosewing or do we furl the big genoa a little in view of the dark clouds racing up towards us? Well, we took the wise decision and furled. We then moved the genoa across to see if we could sail downwind with main and genoa, and Wham! We gybed because the retainer broke under the strain. No harm done, no-one hurt and portside running backstay still with us attached in all the right places. Since everything happens at once we now have one line which is about to take a dip into the water over the railing up front by the bow, the second genoa lying on the starboard deck is trying to sneak out under the rail and into the water, the spinnaker line has taken a couple of turns being furled together with the genoa, but all is quickly fixed and off we sail into stormy weather. Ivo sits quietly unravelling the fishing line while Susan practises her steering skills in case we might one day have a storm, not that we have storms here in the Pacific ocean.. of course not. Just strong squalls and tradewinds with winds up to 35 knots and us sailing with a reefed mainsail and a half furled genoa. Don’t let anyone tell you that the route from Galapagos to Marquesa is all downwind with either no wind or wonderful smooth goosewinging… We’ll probably arrive early, mind you, in Marquesa with 3 reefs in the mainsail and a tiny storm jib – having raced across a stormy ocean in record time…
We are still making 200+ miles a day - speeding like a fast train .. sometimes seems a bit too fast, scary, waves are big, 4-5 m, spray and foam everywhere, the impressive power of wind .. exhilarating and frightening at the same time!! Speeding through the night is especially scary - it was often pitch dark, one can hardly see few meters in front the bow - shall we hit something, a whale or a floating log??
Wednesday, 4 August 2004, Day 8
10:04 AM it is 12:00 noon, Galapagos time and therefore our noon position is: 7.56N 115.30W, since yesterday’s noon position 199 nm, max speed 14.3 knts.
Wind 20 to 25 kn true, ESE, crystal clear sky – since yesterday sailing with two foresails – two big genoas, 130 and 150% - although sometimes over canvassed, sailing is fast and exhilarating .. beautiful and frightening.
Lunch – flambé banana pancakes again – finally cleared our banana stock – some 3-5 kg ended up in the sea!
Thursday, 5 August 2004, Day 9
Last night at about 10pm we saw a light on the horizon – first sign of other boats since leaving Galapagos. It turned out to be a Liberian registered freighter bound for Papeete. We spoke briefly with him via VHF to ensure he had seen us. It passed within 3 miles of us, just confirms that it is necessary to be on watch at all times.
12:28 AM - log 15223 nm, 205 nm from the yesterday’s noon position. Position: 7.41N, 118.56W. 1185 nm to go, 1740 nm from Isabela.
Wind E to ESE 15 to 20 kn, under the squall up to 25 kn. Our second day of goosewinging – having a sensation of riding a fast train without the driver – or even worse, with a drunken driver!! Wind is still not quite Easterly and occasionally pushing us NNW so we are slowly ‘climbing up’ and loosing our latitude – from the 8th degree dropped back to 7.30 this morning.
We caught a BIG dorado at last - probably about 10kg so we are now eating fish for breakfast, lunch and dinner for the next few days. Beautiful specimen and Ivo managed very efficiently to tire the fish and then to haul in it, like a pro!. Only problem when we catch such a big fish, ….we now have to eat it and fast, because we have no freezer. Ivo has however marinated some of it so that should last a couple of weeks after we have eating the rest of the fish.
And here I thought that sailing was a good way to slim down... We are eating so much all the time I never want to see food again when I get off the boat.
A few days ago having opened a small hatch over the galley whilst frying something, a wave hit the side of the boat, and guess what, lunch was now a dish with a lot of salt water added to it! Susan was soaked and we had water everywhere on the floor, stove kitchen surfaces etc. First time so far this has happened to Susan. You can only laugh though and then continue what you were doing.
Susan noticed several months ago noise coming from the steering wheel compartment – was not able to identify the source of the noise until now when the noise intensified and yesterday Susan found the culprit – the plate on the upper deck, where the rudder stalk has a main support has come loose so our rudder is moving back and forth, side to side for a few millimeters every time it got hit by the wave. Problem should be easy to fix ..
Friday, 6 August 2004, Day 10
12:00 AM Galapagos time or 10:00 local time, noon position: 7.17N 122.03W. Still 1006 nm to go, made effectively 1924 nm from Isabela.
Temp 25C, today is a bit cloudy and at this moment a squall is greeting us with the 20-25 E wind and a bit of rain – just a drizzle.
Fried eggs for breakfast … most likely Brodeto for lunch .. we have still so much fish in the fridge .. have to eat it as soon as we can as the fridge is not really the coolest fridge in the galaxy ! Brodeto will maybe with the polenta – if Ivo gets inspired??
At 7 pm changed back to port tack .. wind was consistently ESE and pushing us too much north .. so decided to change our sailing strategy .. now sailing more to the south .. more speed, more comfortable ..
Brodeto was fantastic!
Saturday, 7 August 2004, Day 11
11:55 AM – noon position: 7.30 N 125.16 W, 187 nm since noon yesterday, still to go 816 nm to Fatu Hiva. Covered so far 2200 nm
So it is Saturday again. Where did the days go? We are still speeding along, Southwards now, and nearly at 8th latitude again. We have at last finished the fish – that big dorado we caught a couple of days ago – we are much too healthy with all this fresh fruit and fish, I dream of tinned food or no food at all.
It is now quite warm again – it is night and Susan's watch - sitting in pyjamas wearing harness and safety line too, but no need for wet weather gear any longer. Showers are again the order of the day on deck, easy to dry off in the sun now.
We are still in regular SSB daily contact with Music and via them we hear from Takapuna who is ahead of us, about 500 miles. We will most likely all meet up in Daniel’s bay in Nuku Hiva – Holly B, Alexander III, Music, Takapuna, Sandpiper and one other boat I think that Ken is in contact with too.
Sleep deprivation is slowing us down – we have to make an effort to do something every day – today was cleaning the stove, make lemon tea, fix the steering and install new speakers in the cockpit, so all in all a good day today.
The seas have been quite rough throughout the trip so far, seas of 4-5 meters and sometimes confused seas. This means that wearing a harness is an absolute must for any work on deck and at night sitting in the cockpit during watch too. Particularly if we are goosewinging – no chance to slow the boat down for man overboard in less than 30 minutes or so.
We will need to change time again tomorrow – we lose another hour which will make it three hours since we left Galapagos.
Sunday, 8 August 2004
10:32 AM Noon position: 8.47S 128.08W, 632 nm to go. Temp 32C, clear sky, wind E, ENE the 12-15 kn.
And so it was Sunday again. Also a day of rest for sailors. Actually this Sunday turned out to be a lovely day..
In the morning Ivo had a couple of hours sleep after having been on the late watch. During that watch Ivo installed and played with Photoshop and also read up on sextant usage and took the first sextant reading. The calculations to position us are next, but the information on how to do this is on the next pages of the book which Ivo will read tomorrow evening! We did spend some time looking at the stars and try to identify those we could see at that time – 3-5 am . While Ivo slept I had good radio contact with both Ken from Music and Pierre from Takapuna at 10am Galapagos time. We speak at 8104.0 MHz or, like today switched for better reception to 8114.0. Takapuna were 26 miles off Nuku Hiva and expected to be at anchor sometime in the afternoon. Music has another 1290 miles to go and we have just over 600 nm. Sandpiper is now also on the way and will meet up with everyone in Daniel’s bay in Nuku Hiva. We had an email from Tony’s (Holly B) wife giving their position 06.53 South and 114.9W and has 1250 miles to go (it looks like they are quite close to Music.
After a leisurely breakfast coffee, biscotti and nutella – sometime late morning – not really sure what time it is - we have all clocks still on Galapagos time but think local time is now 3 hours behind that.
The weather was just fantastic – and we changed sail configuration after breakfast to start goosewinging again since the wind was persistently from the E or NE. The winds lighter than anything we’ve had so far so we could really enjoy a quiet and restful day. Then deck showers and just taking it easy – real Sunday time. Listening to music in the cockpit while chatting and enjoying a peaceful day of sailing across this immense ocean. We were talking about being the last people on earth – such a strange feeling of being disconnected from the rest of the world– are we sailing in outer space or on Earth? Today SusanI even asked what year we are???!! How long have we really been sailing ?
Ivo opened up Ken’s computer and began fixing it, Susan had another little nap after being hypnotised by the beautiful blue waves and reading a little. It is now quite warm – and we are wearing sarongs to keep cool.
Sunday is the day the cacti garden is ceremoniously watered which was dutifully done.
No lunch today – decided to have one main meal late afternoon or early evening – Susan eventually cooked spaghetti with an amended version of a carbonara sauce. Something quite different to the many kilos of fish we have had lately. Also made bread and this time tried with limited success to use a combination of corn and wholemeal flour. Not to be recommended. Corn flour is good for making tortillas, not loaves of bread. Well it is edible so have fresh bread again for a couple of days.
In the afternoon it became obvious that the is wind back in the ESE – SE quarter – aargh.. So now we are climbing back up the 8th latitude. What is the matter with this wind – where is the easterly tradewind the books and weatherfaxes tell us we should be having?? No matter, the wind has dropped to 10-12 knts so at least it is more comfortable sailing now which ever way we go.
We have been sailing 12 days Ivo tells me. Feels like only a few days, but we have really lost a sense of time. Should we just continue until we run out of food (not likely that will happen soon…).
So here I am, it is my night watch at 1.40am and can conclude that it was a lovely peaceful Sunday for us out here on the Pacific ocean – one of our best days yet, everything just right.
In a few minutes I’ll go wake Ivo up for his watch and for some star gazing together before I go off for my night’s sleep. The wind is a firm ESE 4 beaufort and we are doing 278-280 degrees magnetic when we should be doing 260 or so. Perhaps we need to make a small offering to Eol so that he will continue to be generous with us and provide us with favourable winds…
Monday August 9, 2004
10:01 AM Noon position: 8.35 South & 130.50 West. 478 nm to go. Temp 30C, clear sky, wind E, ESE 10-12-15 kn and making 7-8-9 kn – much faster than yesterday.
In the afternoon fishing again .. after few hours caught a small wahoo – 1.5 kg or so – filleted and prepared for tomorrow’s lunch – soup or fried??
An easy day, sailing relatively slow today – wind is clearly slowing down 10 to 12 kn .. another Sunday!!
ESE wind is still pushing us a bit north, and we are goosewinging at an angle of 150 to 160 port to compensate for ESE wind which was supposed to turn to E already few days ago .. if it does not turn to E tomorrow morning we’ll have to tack and sail again with the main and genoa on starboard.
Ivo fixing Ken’s computer/notebook .. managed to get it working but results are not exactly reproducible – notebook seems to be very temperamental – obviously some problems with charging/power .. removed all components and, dusted off, cleaned, motherboard inspected, main switch opened and seems to be working well .. after few hours of checking, testing, cleaning, .. Ivo gave up .. and close the shop for today … another task awaiting .. calculate our position from our first sextant observations taken in the morning..
Tuesday, August 10, 2004
12:02 AM Galapagos time. Noon position: 8.51 South & 133.57 West. Log 16122 nm. Did 185 nm with 296 nm to go. Temp 30C, clear sky, wind E, 10-12-15 kn and making 7,5kn average speed.
Yet another Sunday – third in a row – nice and easy sailing, goosewinging.
In this duet of log writing, it is now me, Susan, writing during my night watch – I have the long watch this night the one which starts at midnight and finishes when I can no longer stay awake! Managing quite well so far tonight – it is now 5am and I am still wide awake.
So snack time in the afternoon of course consisted of pancakes with nutella, and as an extra little treat Ivo made his special: a biscuit topped with nutella, or even two biscuits with nutella in the middle!.
Mochachino is also our favourite drink at the moment if it is not rum with freshly squeezed orange and grapefruit juice.
During the previous night’s watch, at watch change – around midnight we had a tin of peaches in heavy syrup with home made custard and cream!! Really, no-one can ever say we don’t eat well on Fiu. It is one of those boats where we could invite famous cooks to come join us for a week to do cooking classes and eating sessions of good food. They certainly would always have an attentive & enthusiastic audience!
Tonight’s watch has been one of those unique nights – a velvety light and soft breeze just moving us along and all the stars out to say hello. The moon came up about an hour ago – quite late now – faithfully accompanied by Venus alongside. I have to admit that when I first saw the moon rise at our stern I thought it was a tanker coming up towards us at great speed and went to wake Ivo. Er,hmm, well only the moon actually. Never mind Ivo went straight back to sleep so no harm done. Earlier in the night, just at the start of my watch after midnight, we saw a light to our portside – about 90 degrees off. Must have been a sail boat , we maintained same parallel course until we overtook them and a few hours later could no longer see their lights.
Maybe we’ll see them arrive soon after us in Fatu Hiva [which we did. A small sailing boat - 8 meters maybe, 2 people onboard, no autohelm, so steering all the way. It took them 28 days to do the crossing].We should arrive in Marquesa sometime in the next 24 hours – another 170 miles to go but with the light winds probably will only arrive tomorrow night or even early Thursday dawn. Even so, we will have made excellent time – we expect to take 15/16 days for this crossing which is good time for the longest ocean crossing one can make other than circumnavigating the globe without stopping.
The wind is now from the ENE 4 beaufort and the waves a lot smaller although from time to time there still are a few big ones that come along our stern and make us roll about so that the spinnaker poles and the sails bang and flap about violently.
Well enough for now, I shall go back outside and sit in the cockpit and enjoy this wonderful soft night. Will try to absorb it into my memory so that I can always come back here during other times.
Wednesday, 11 August 2004
10:03 AM 12:05 AM Galapagos time Noon position: 9.43 S & 136.25 W, 155nm on the straight line – our lowest mileage so far. Still 140 to go and made effectively 2800 nm from Isabela. Temp 30C, clear sky, wind E-ENE, 10-12 kn and making 5-6 kn average speed – much slower progress.
We changed sails again and went from goosewinging to broad reach in order to go further west. With the wind dropping and us no longer sailing fast we’ll now not arrive until tomorrow dawn at Fatu Hiva.
Radio reception was poor so did not speak with any of the other boats today.
Just now at 4.30am local time saw a school of dolphins – many, many fluorescent patches in the water like lots of spotlights shining up from underneath, just an incredible sight in the dark night.
Thursday, 12 August 2004
Arrived in the bay of Hanavave or otherwise known as the bay of Phalluses at 11.30 am, so made the crossing in 15 days and 20 hours. Over 3000 miles in just over 15 days, the boat has done really well. Most other navigators we've met took between 20 and 54 days
To read about our stay in the Marquesa islands, follow the link Marquesa