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Monday, March 2, 2015

Galapagos Bound? No News = Good News

Weather report from PassageWeather.com.
Weather or not to jump to Galapagos today?

We're delaying a day.  At least, that's the current plan.

On the one hand, we're all-too-conscious of the days ticking by, and there's many miles to go before we arrive in distant New Zealand by November's cyclone season.  We've remained anchored at Ilsa Contadora, our one and only stop in the 200 island chain of Panama's Las Perlas.  

We are also concerned about an engine part, our v-drive, a common "weak link" class issue that we rebuilt between cruising seasons and is vibrating a bit too much for our comfort (more on that in a future post).  It may be fine; Wayne contacted the manufacturer, tinkered with it and it appears to be working.  Or, in  a worst case scenario, it could require returning to Panama City, sending a 50 pound, large part back to the United States for a manufacturer fix, then waiting for its return and reinstalling before we leave.  We won't know if it's good enough until we test it.  Testing it requires using some fuel we're not willing to burn unless it's on our way.

On the other hand, while we're concerned about not enough wind as we cross the doldrums into Galapagos.  Yet, for the next day or so, before we get to the doldrums, there's winds at 25 knots, a bit higher than we'd like to tackle, given the option. We've sailed through higher winds when we haven't had the option; it's hard on us, and hard on our boat.  This time, we have the option.  

While sometimes we've kicked ourselves for missing an ideal sailing weather window, more often, we've kicked ourselves for not waiting just one more day.  Sometimes we've gotten pounded (like this time when we got spanked, or this time when we paid the price for our impatience), when the next day would've been perfectly fine sailing or motoring weather.  Other times, we motored when the following day, after we arrived, was an excellent sailing day.

So this time, we're waiting, along with several other cruisers in the same anchorage, who are skipping the Galapagos and headed direct to the Marquesas, though following a similar track through the same high wind area that's got us concerned.

Waiting's not so bad.  

One more day on what's become one of our favorite beaches.  Taking the extra time we didn't yesterday to fumigate our boat, hopefully in sufficient compliance with the Galapagos' requirements.   One more chance to connect with our newfound cruising friends before we meet again in the Marquesas, in a month or so. A more concerted effort at getting a good night sleep before we tackle sailing ~1,000 miles of open ocean, 24/7, which of late is taking most cruisers about 10 days.  

Crap! We just saw all the other boats in the anchorage leaving.  "Two days of kinda strong wind we can skirt sounds better than no wind in 4 days," said Stephen of Blue Pelican.

We're going!  Wish us luck!

Location Location
Currently, we're anchored off the Panama Las Perlas island of Contadora (N08.37.393 W79.01.870).  We will be out of internet range for up to 2 weeks, that is, no news, will be good news.