Alone Like a Rolling Stone

Day 17- The highlights until then

Since this morning a Canadian yacht is trying to overtake us. But he too is sailing hard on the wind and is limited in what he can do. We are now the 17th day at sea and are holding our own against a southwest wind. Southwest wind in the Pacific is at best down in the Rowing fourthys or fifthys, some will say, but not at 2° south. Well, we were of the same opinion, but you never stop learning and so we sail on the edge and defend every minute of west, which we had already gained. Next to us the Tucan, as said a Canadian yacht. 

Cloud formations on the Pacific Ocean

The Mare, our buddy boat, is just under 70 nautical miles southeast of us and is trying to gain south faster in order to get into the southeast trade wind and make up for the lost miles to the east. 17 days and not even 900 of 4000 nautical miles done. Our Atlantic crossing was then finished after 17 days. Here on the Pacific we just can't get off the ground. The first two days we still managed, with moderate wind, with an day's run of just under 100 nautical miles, but after that there was only calm. Shortly before the Galapagos we reach the equator. A highlight we desperately needed. It is quite frustrating to have so many miles ahead of us and not see them melt away. For Gaby and me it is the first baptism and so we throw potato peels at each other, each recite our baptismal motto and empty the Pacific water down over us. For the occasion, we added a bottle of sparkling wine with gold plates to the provisions. Not forgetting the sea god, we pour a glass into the Pacific and drink the rest to our health. May the gods protect us in the southern hemisphere as much as in the northern hemisphere. Besides this positive highlight, there are a lot of other highlights during the first days of our trip to the Gambier Islands. On the 13th day our main halyard broke. With a 1.5m high wave to climb up the mast, albeit with mast steps is not a pleasure. Arrived at the top, then somehow to hold on and stabilize, a special challenge. Now to work anything up there, almost impossible. The accelerations of my body up there, were so violent that I arrive at the whole body with bruises again below. A threading of a new main halyard, in the mast, is not to be thought at all. I attach a pulley in the top and pull the halyard along the outside of the mast. I am glad to be down again. It doesn't look pretty, but it works. At least until we find a quiet anchorage. Meanwhile the gannets become a plague. If there were only two, we now have eight of the creatures sitting on the railing. I don't feel like cleaning the toilet for the boobies every day, so I need a solution. In the afternoon, I set up as a figurehead at the front of the bow. The birds don't like that at all and complain that I should disappear. After two hours they give up and I leave my post. The next morning there are again eight gannets sitting on the railing. Well, there must be another solution. We tie red ribbons to the railing. This scares off most of them, but two still don't care. Only when I push one of these gentlemen, I assume that there were two gentlemen, a little rudely from the railing, and he falls from pure surprise, this brazen attack, into the water, none of the dolts can be seen. Meanwhile we rock into the next calm. I start the engine during the night to recharge the batteries a bit. During the day it was very dull and since we also have no wind, we are at the lower level with our power capacity. Suddenly a marrow softening whistle sound. In my nocturnal tran, I am at first completely disoriented until I see the temperature warning light of the engine. I immediately turn off the engine and see that it has become very hot. Something is wrong with the cooling system. I will take care of that tomorrow. The next morning I check, first of all, the seawater supply. The intake port is free, so seawater can be sucked in unhindered. The impeller of the seawater pump is next, and lo and behold, it looks pretty tattered. "We'll have to replace it," I say to Gaby, who looks at me uncomprehendingly. For her, it's always pure stress when something doesn't work. Yes, and so far a few things have come together at once. After the impeller is replaced, the system cools the engine perfectly again. So everything is in the green. Except for the fact that we can hardly get off the ground, we're doing fine. After 17 days, we have finally reached the Galapagos Islands, where we sail past and want to go directly to the Gambier Islands. Still 3100 nautical miles to go. Hopefully we will reach the southeast trade wind soon.

What else we experience on this trip, you can read in the next week, here. Until then, always fair winds and keep a stiff upper lip.