April 2013 – Galapagos to the Marquises – Flying Rays, Afternoon tea at sea, and Science day

The trip from Galapagos to Hiva Oa in the Marquises was a fun trip covering 3066nm of ocean, taking us 18 days and 30mins. We farewelled friends, watched flying rays, saw whales, took part in a daily sked, had baking days, had science days, and broke the steering cable.

As we left the Galapagos Islands it was sad to wave Russ and our new friends, Sapir, Manu, Gabriel and Claudia good bye but at the same time it was nice to know we were embarking on the largest ocean crossing for us to date.

In the first hour out of the Galapagos we were met by some whales and a flying ray who decided to show off and started doing back flips near the stern of Charm Offensive. It was amazing, I had heard of flying rays but had assumed they got up speed then flew out of the water near the surface in a straight direction. Boy was I wrong; this ray looked like he should enter the extreme games. It did back flips; front flips, side flips and some manoeuvres that even Shaun White the snowboarder would be impressed with. The acrobatics would last till the ray was at least 1.5m above the ocean before coming back to earth with a tremendous thud. It was quite a sight and gave Nick C renewed enthusiasm in his back flip ability. I pointed out its probably best to wait to Sydney before you practice as a hospital nearby may be a good option.

We started a daily sked called the Lonsome George Net aptly named after Lonsome George a giant tortoise that lived in Galapagos for over 150 years and was the last of his species, sadly dying in July last year. The sked was with two other boats, one called Pelagie from Holland and the other being a Canadian yacht called Kaun Yin 1. The sked gave us peace of mind as we knew there were other boats nearby and it gave us time to discuss our day’s activities including lack of catching fish but new fishing techniques we were trying all the time. After being without any media for at least 2 months it is funny how the daily sked becomes the daily news. Every day the sked was at 5pm, as soon as it was over Damien and Nick would wait with baited breath to see what was happening on the other boats and how quickly we were catching them. For 5 days we were doing 200nm days and where making at least 60 miles a day on both boats. A very pleasing outcome for all of us. Not that we are competitive males or anything like that but the thought of catching and overtaking another yacht that left 5 days before us got our hearts beating so we got all competitive and started adjusting the sails. This lasted about 24hrs before we went back to watching movies and reading books.

I have never baked anything in my life and after 7 days at sea and Nick C’s instigation of a daily afternoon tea a thought started to seed in my mind. The thought that I could bake was getting stronger and stronger and after 9 days I produced an apple and nutella cake. It was surprisingly tasty so I followed by baking a peach cake made from tinned peaches the next day. The second cake didn’t turn out as expected it was more of a pudding but still eatable. Nick C baked one of the best breads I have ever eaten; we had it with nutella, peanut butter and honey. It is funny how these simple pleasures become such an event when you have been at sea for a long time.

Science day was brought about after 12 days at sea. I have always had power draw issues onboard, yes it may be because we insist on listening to music, running the autopilot/chart plotter and watching movies 24/7 but still, it is what it is. To combat running the engine for over 4hrs a day I thought we could create a tow power generator (photo below) from an old outboard motor and a car alternator. The idea is that the outboards head is removed and replaced with the alternator then the water rushing past the outboard prop spins the shaft thus spinning the alternator and producing power. These parts had previously been purchased in St Lucia round Christmas and have been sitting in the bow of Charm Offensive waiting for the day to them together. As we bounced around in the ocean the back of the yacht looked like a work shop, hack saws, drills, taping equipment and wola a connected contraption of parts. The prop spun very well but sadly it didn’t produce much electricity. A re vamp and perhaps some gearing onto the alternator is required.

Oh SHHIIIIT!! Damien yelled as the steering cable broke, then he said something strange that I didn’t think you would normally hear coinciding with a breakage. Bloody brilliant. I said what do you mean, this is not brilliant. He said normally something like this occurs at 2am when it’s raining and it’s blowing 30+kts. He did have a point, we were sailing with just the gennaker up in 10kts of wind, it was mid afternoon, everyone was on deck and all we had to do was engage the autopilot that is connected directly to the steering quadrant and there wasn’t really much of an issue, we were on our way. Team Windcraft was emailed and they were on things straight away. As soon as we got to Tahiti we had a brand new steering cable waiting for us. It has been installed and works perfectly.

The trip from the Galapagos to the Marquises was the longest trip to date, the seas and weather were kind to us and all in all it was an excellent trip.

“Galapagos and the trip there”

From Galapagos and crossing the Equator. Posted by Nick Black on 5/01/2013 (75 items)

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