I laughed as a booby struggled to keep its balance on a small floating log, just a couple of metres from Grace as we sailed past. Our forward motion pushed a small wave of white water away from the hull and I almost heard this bird going “Whooa” as it wobbled back and forth trying to regain its balance. It chose not to use its wings to help steady itself, instead throwing some body popping shapes from its knees up. (Do birds have knees?) No way was it flying off its watery perch. “I’ve found a log, I’m staying here, thank you very much”.
More animal activity as I passed up the dinner plates into the cockpit last night, including delicious cabbage I hasten to add. A pod of spotted dolphins came over to play, distracting us from our dinner for a few minutes. Not just arched backs this time but full leaps out of the water. Always a happy sight.
Our departure was in two stages, although we hadn’t planned it that way. We were almost ready, so it was time to go. We’ve learnt over time that we are never 100% totally sorted so almost is good enough. The anchor came up around 1.30pm local time and we were off. No fanfare. No ticker tape. Just a quiet motor between Contadora and Seboga till the we put the sails up and pointed west.
Whilst setting up our aries self steering windvane, Dave commented on some stiffness in the adjustment mechanism. So we made the decision to sail south for around 4 hours to Pedro Gonzales and anchor up to check it out. Which is what we did. Some spannering, boiling water and silicon spray did the trick start.
We set off again at 01.15am when the current was favourable after an 8 hour pit stop. Pedro Gonzales is a hard place to leave. It’s a super quiet anchorage off a lovely sandy beach with a beauty to keep you there. Leaving in the dark removed some of that pull. But we have an ocean to cross. Better crack on.
Its breakfast time on the morning of day 2. I’m counting our 01.15am as our real departure time. So far the motor has been chugging more than we’d like. Getting out of the bay of Panama was always going to be a bit of a pig and that’s what we have experienced so far. Little wind or wind from the direction we want to go. For now, the combustion machine is not combusting.
All three sails are up and we were making 6 knots the right way. Short lived pleasure as the wind has dropped to diddly squat and we are making 3.5 knots in 6 knots of breeze. There’s a helpful current here enhancing the numbers.
We are in dilemma world. Do we motor to make progress? Motoring uses fuel and fuel is a limited resource. It’s also noisy and makes the cabin hot. Or do we sail very slowly, not necessarily in the right direction which is quieter but can be pretty frustrating due to the lack of progress. Covering the ocean between here and north of the Galápagos Islands is very much about positioning and not getting into any counter currents. The dilemma continues.