back to Panama City to the Galapagos log 03/21/2001 - 04/10/01

Galapagos to Marquesas Passage

Wednesday April 11th, 2001

Guy listened to a SSB net last night an again this morning to track other boats and to see what kind of wind they are having. It appears that it is pretty dead until south of 3 degrees south latitude. Then it sound squally from 3 S to 5 S. We talked to Carl on s/v Silver Fin and Rick on s/v Voyager who are also planning on leaving today. Rick has pick up a little more information including advice from a couple weather experts who are suggesting that boats head south west until they get into the trade winds and then make directly for the Marquesas. This sounds like a good advice to us, so we are going to follow it. -DWH

A wish comes true.... Guy and I made one last trip into town with Kathleen on s/v Silver Fin. We deposited our last garbage in the trash bin, we collected the laundry, a little more water, 6 loaves of bread (specially ordered - whole wheat and unsliced), and 4 dozen eggs. We were hot and sweaty on the way back to the boat. We were all anxious to get the anchor up and be on our way to the Marquesas. While negotiating shallow spots with the dinghy between shore and the anchorage somebody yelled 'What was that? A turtle I think!' We all searched the water and soon saw an animal gracefully swimming under water. But it was too narrow to be a turtle. Then the three of us realized simultaneously that it was a penguin. There are lots of penguins on this island, but never (or so we thought) on the south of the island. He was alone as far as we could tell. He swam towards the dinghy, and I let the motor die. He swam in circles around us showing off while we drifted for several minutes. What a show. We were yelling with excitement and awe. What a wonderful memory to leave the Galapagos with... -SLC

Anchor is up at 11:45! Marquesas here we come.

Engine hours are 1517. -DWH

Well it's been a very exciting start to an epic journey. The anchor came up at 11:45am and about 20 minutes later the fishing lines were in the water. At just before 1pm small jerky movements on the end of one of the rods alerted me that we could have something. The ratchet made a small noise and I shouted to anybody that would listen that we "had a hit" and started reeling in. While I was reeling in and fighting the fish a shark's fin surface right behind the boat and it was a race between us and the shark as to who got the fish. We won and landed a beautiful Spanish Mackerel. Dave gaffed the fish on the transom and we put to test the new "bleeding line". I've no idea if that's the right name or even if this type of device or concept exists. The "bleeding line" is a line attached to the transom with a loop at the other end which goes around the fish's tail. We then bleed the fish off the back of the boat instead of making a mess of the cockpit. As I write this (2pm) I can smell Dave frying the fish as we prepare for a feast. -Guy

7PM Light Southerly winds dying down as we speak. We made about 20 miles this afternoon. Perfect sunset with jumping dolphins in the horizon. -Jo

7:30pm The wind has left us and we are motoring. -DWH

Thursday April 12th, 2001

Motored till 10:00AM 02:08S 91:48W Winds light from the North Sailing at 3 knots -Jo

Jo spotted a whale blowing at 1 PM. It was blowing once every 30 to 45 seconds and appeared to be staying at or near the surface. After blowing at least a dozen times it dove, the flukes coming out of the water for the first time. We believe that the whale was actually hyperventilating in preparation for a deep dive. We consulted a reference book and found that the rapid breathing before the dive and the flukes being raised only at the start of the dive are consistent with the behavior of sperm whales, but the blow appeared to be directed straight up and not forward at a 45 degree angle which is typical of sperm whales. Maybe there are other whales that hyperventilate in the same way before diving, but our book is not clear on this.

Water temp is 82 degrees F.

As we near sunset the wind seems to be petering out, but it is still fun to sail. At the end of my shift at 6pm Ladybug was doing 2 knots with a wind speed of 2.5 knots.

Beautiful sunset. The sun went down at 00:10:57 UTC. -DWH

It's 9:45pm and I'll be taking over driving duty in 15 minutes. There were other marine sightings today as well as the whale blow. We passed a sleeping/resting sea lion. It was doing a shark impersonation with one flipper straight up out of the water. I was a little concerned that it was so far from land and Stacy asked me if I wanted to implement our sea lion rescue program. We also had a large pod of dolphins ahead of the boat that were performing some spectacular jumps. This led to some interesting discussion about how high they could jump and the calculator was brought out and the laws of physics showed that my guess at height was beyond my their physical capabilities. They were visible for around 20 minutes as they circled the boat from a fair distance. At the time we saw the dolphins we also noticed a string of white marker buoys that we all assume were marking a fishing net. We steered well clear of them. Today we caught no fish. Not even a bite. That did not stop us from feasting on Jo's infamous beans and rice. Earlier today, Stacy setup a beer sweepstakes to see who could predict our arrival most accurately. The predictions range from optimistic, Dave and Stacy on the 2nd of May, to moderate, Jo on the 6th of May, to downright ridiculously pesimistic, myself on the 14th of May. -Guy

Friday April 13th, 2001

We actually had a little wind from the SW last night and managed to sail. At 8am it has died down to 2 knots out of the SE. We are sailing along at about 1 knot. We've been listening to SSB nets, one in the morning and one in the evening, and know that the boats ahead of us experienced the same weather but have wind now, so we know it will get better.

Calibrated the barometer based on boats around us. It was at 1005, but is now set to 1010. Most of the boats on the morning net include the barometer in their report (along with position, speed, %cloud cover, and fish caught). -DWH

Number of fish caught: 0. But I feel a big hit coming on today. We're going a little slow but we have 4 lines out. We are in fact going so slow that I took a swim off the back of the boat this morning. It was a very cautious swim. First I tied a safety line to the transom. Then I put on my swimming goggles and peered into the water to make sure that Jaws wasn't there. I then gently eased myself into the water and hung onto the safety line as it pulled me smoothly along behind the boat at between 1 and 2 knots. The closest depth reading I can find on the charts shows the bottom 3.5 Km below us. That's 3,500 metres down to Davy Jones' Locker, probably the furthest I've ever been from it while swimming. I took the opportunity to have this weeks wash. According to my arrival date prediction yesterday we only have 31 days to go. Not only is today Friday the 13th, it's also Good Friday - an oxymoron? -Guy

At noon our position is 03:05S, 92:14W. -DWH

I really love having an autopilot. One advantage is that during the night it is possible to get something to eat, use the toilet, check the charts, etc. while everyone else sleeps. That's nice. Sleep is good. But today I also found the autopilot very handy because it let me play with the sails while on watch. Guy was napping, Stacy was reading, and Jo was working on the computer. We had been sailing all day without making any adjustments. If I had needed to ask for help it probably would have stayed that way (not because anyone would had refused but because I would not have asked), but with the auto pilot steering the boat I played with the sails for about 45 minutes. I'm not that good at sail trim (a better sailor could have done the same in a few minutes); but I had fun, learned a little, and in the end the boat was moving faster. -DWH

Wind died. Started motoring again during Jo's night shift. -DWH

Saturday April 14th, 2001

So much for my prediction of catching a fish yesterday. Today we will try again as we heard on the net that the boats ahead of us have been catching. At dawn I set out 3 lines and wished each one luck. -Guy

10AM We may finally be into the trade winds. We have 12 to 15 out of the SE and are doing over 7 knots.

At noon our position is 04:05S, 93:17W. -DWH

3PM another fish. I landed a 25 inch Dorado (otherwise known as Dolphin fish or Mahi-Mahi). It was very light on Dave's heavy pole. I even thought I lost it while I was reeling. It was beautiful. Some really nice jumps for us when it got close to the boat. The odd thing is that it was hooked in the same eye twice!! We hooked it with both poles, not sure I understand. But, we got it on board and Dave cut some great fillets out of it. This will be a wonderful dinner. -SLC

As Stacy mentioned above, the dorado we caught was hooked near the eye with two separate lures. We had three lines out, and it actually got hooked on two of them. I understand how it got hooked in the eye. It's mouth is really not that big, so it would have grabbed the lure from the side first and then tried to swallow it. But rather than stopping like a real squid would when the dorado grabbed it this one kept moving, and the hook sunk into the outside of its mouth near the eye. What is really strange though is why after getting hooked once would it go after an identical lure and get hooked again. I guess it was one very stupid and very hungry fish. It also turned out to be a very tasty fish. -DWH

Sunday April 15th, 2001

Happy Easter!

Jo woke me 5 minutes shy of 6am to let me know that my shift was about to start. Once on deck he showed me a bowl of squid - not a whole bowl but 6 of the little fellas. Apparently they'd come on board last night, forgotten they need to stay in the water to survive and sacrificed themselves to us as bait. Dave baited up the lines and let them out and by around 6:30 we were sitting chatting. "Do you realize that we've never caught a fish during the AM hours," I said to Dave. "We've always had lines out but never caught anything until the afternoon." Dave didn't answer immediately but scratched his chin and pondered over this statement looking out to sea. "You're right," he said after a while. About a minute's silence ensued and then the reel of the port rod started screaming like an angle grinder through rusty metal. We'd tempted fate and hooked something big. We also needed help so I screamed down into the boat for Jo and Stacy to come up and help us. They were well and truly in the arms of Morpheus and there was no way my shouting was going to wake them. I'd forgotten about the loud whistle we had in the cockpit so it was left up to the two of us. I turned the boat into the wind and Dave pulled out the rod and started the fight. In my excitement and haste to get the engines running I let the nose of the boat swing around too much and the fish ended up in front of us and then swam down between the hulls breaking the line. So we lost the "big one", and I'm to blame. I also managed to get the other two lines we had out wrapped around the port propeller. That meant that Dave had to go for an early morning swim to untangle it. I've chastised myself and now no longer feel guilty. -Guy

I got up around 8AM to find Dave sitting next to his mask and snorkel and fighting with three tangled fishing lines. Since it is Easter I decided on a special breakfast (easy but special). I heated water for coffee and tea then I pulled out a mix from my secret stash. This is a backpacking mix from MSR, Organic Spoon Drop Scones w/ Orange peel and Walnuts. This was so easy to make (just add water) and very tasty!! Thanks a million Ryan and Linda!! I have been missing our families a little today. Holidays away from home are always like that. We are having fun and lots of good wind so I can't complain. I especially miss going to church and breakfast with mom and Paige, family dinner and Easter Baskets(usually contains special beer, cheese, and oysters) with the Hess family, and family supper with my Dad, Jeanne, Katie, and Sarah. .-SLC

At noon our position is 5:32S, 95:35W. We are still working our way south before turning directly for the Marquesas. We are currently 2579 miles from our intended landfall. In the last 24 hours we sailed 165 miles. -DWH

I had a shower and I'm starting to feel a little better. No fish yet. Several bites, but no luck. That's OK, because I was really in the mood for chili - one of Dave's specialties. -SLC

We finally got fish. After 6 hits (a couple of v. big ones), bites numbers 7 and 8 provided us with two very edible skipjack tuna. We must have sailing through a school of them as the two lines we had out were hit at the same time and the fish were almost identical in size. I'm currently digesting one of them. Dave has become the filleting master and can now fillet a fish blindfolded in 5 minutes. Stacy sizzled them to perfection a short while ago. -Guy

Monday April 16th, 2001

It was cloudy most of the day yesterday, so we didn't get much charge from the solar panels. Started engines early in the morning and charged for 2 hours.

We have done pretty well getting south, so we are starting to turn more west towards the Marquesas. At 8:30am we changed out course from 235M to 255M and raised the spinnaker. We would still like to get a little more south to stay clear of the ITCZ, but we will do that at night with the main and jib.

At noon our position is 7:04S, 97:59W . In the last 24 hours we sailed 173 nautical miles (7.2 knots). This is a new record for us! Our distance made good towards the Marquesas is 155 nm (6.5 VMG). We have sailed 568 NM since leaving Galapagos. We have 2424 NM to go.

I cleaned the port engine bilge. Everything that I fixed in the Galapagos seems to be OK (no electrical problems, no water, and very little if any oil), but we have a little diesel fuel in the bilge. This is not dangerous as it would be with a gasoline engine, but smells bad when the boat motion gets rough. I was not able to immediately identify the source, but cleaned the engine well and will check it again later. I think there is the same problem on the starboard side.

Inspired by Stacy and Guy, I actually wrote a story. If the board of directors approves it we will post it under the "Literature." section.

At sunset we dropped the spinnaker. It was another exciting take down, but by the time we get home I'm sure we will be experts. Then we raise the main and jib and worked our way south west during the night. -DWH

Tuesday April 17th, 2001

Spinnaker is back up. This sail was the best $350 dollar investment we've made.

At noon our position is 8:06S, 100:37W. In the last 24 hours we sailed 157 nautical miles (6.5 knots). Our distance made good towards the Marquesas is 149 NM(6.2 VMG). We have sailed 725 NM since leaving Galapagos. We have 2275 NM to go.

We have gotten far enough south that we believe that we are safely south of the ITCZ and solidly into the trade winds, so we have changed our course to be directly towards the Marquesas.

We practiced raising and lowering the spinnaker just before sunset. We have had a little trouble bringing it down lately, so we are experimenting with different methods. We had originally used the sock that came with the sail, but later decided we were better off without it. Our opinion has changed, and we are using it again. Since our practice runs went well and the conditions are so nice, we are going to fly it through the night. -DWH

Wednesday April 18th, 2001

Good morning campers! Today is our one year anniversary. We moved onto Ladybug exactly one year ago. -DWH

We had a great party to celebrate our anniversary today. We had pizza and champagne - what more could a girl ask for in the middle of the Pacific Ocean?? We forgot to turn on the music, I think the water rushing past the hull was music enough for the party!! The past year has gone fast. The best summary I can think of is we had a lot of fun while we worked hard preparing the boat, now we are enjoying the rewards. I am looking forward to what the next year will bring us, hell - I'm just looking forward to what the next month will bring us! -SLC

At noon our position is 8 26S, 103 09W. In the last 24 hours we sailed 166 nautical miles (6.9 knots). Our distance made good towards the Marquesas is also 166 NM We have sailed 881 NM since leaving Galapagos. We have 2109 NM to go. -DWH

6:50 sunset began.-SLC

Thursday April 19th, 2001

2AM We had been sailing with the spinnaker, but the wind kept creeping up. It was great fun sailing along at high speed (often over 10 knots), but eventually we realized that we were being stupid. Everybody got up and under Jo's direction dropped the spinnaker and raised the main and jib. Now we are sailing along at a very sensible 7 knots. -DWH

The last 16 hours we have averaged 7.5 knots, not bad....will it keep up this way? I hope so. My shift was pretty exciting, even without the spinnaker. I saw mostly 25 to 28 (gusts up to 30) knots of wind. I tell you one thing, you're not going to fall asleep out there. You have to struggle to stay in the captains chair most of the time with the waves hitting Ladybug from many random directions. Tonight is the first night that I didn't see the moon rise, it is waning and getting later every day (plus I think there were a few clouds on the horizon in the east). -SLC

At 4AM today it officially became our longest period at sea. It was the 7 day 16 hour mark point that was past at this time - the time it took us to get from Panama to the Galapagos. We have covered approximately one third of the distance to the Marquesas. -Guy

You know they are in the water because they take our fishing lures. But you never think about them REALLY being there. I'm talking about sharks. I had one "check me out" today. I had been watching the waves come from behind the boat while I was steering. They are very high and always give the boat a gentle push. They were hitting almost exactly on the outer corner of the port stern. As I watched one of the waves approach, I realized something was swimming in it....something large. At first I thought it was a dolphin, so I didn't get too excited. But as the wave approached the stern the shape materialized into a shark. I would guess 5 to 7 feet long, and less then 15 feet from the boat. I saw the whole shark not just a fin sticking out of the water. This was amazing. I yelled "shark" and Guy was quick enough to see a dorsal fin swimming behind the boat, but Jo and Dave had to take my word for it. Very exciting. Glad we did not have the fishing lines out! -SLC

At noon our position is 8 29 S, 106 06W. In the last 24 hours we sailed 175 nautical miles (7.3 knots). Our distance made good towards the Marquesas is also 175 NM This is another new record for Ladybug. We have sailed 1056 NM since leaving Galapagos. We have 1934 NM to go.

We had a major breakthrough with the SSB (single side band) radio. In the past I have struggled to hear other boats, even when they seem to be able to hear me pretty well.. It's usually pretty good if the other boat is only a couple hundred miles away, but if they are any further than that I often end up with my ear to the speaker trying to hear through the static. It has been very frustrating. Unfortunately I did not know what I should expect for reception and so did not recognize that I had a serious problem. Then last night I noticed that the static had a regular rhythm, which seemed very strange. Then it hit me. We almost always have at least one computer powered up. I put the laptop in standby mode and the static changed. The rhythm was different and the static was less in general. So I turned the computer completely off. The static was greatly reduced. Finally I turned the inverter off. There was almost no static at all! I had been trying to hear a boat 1200 miles to the west with very little luck. Now it sounded like they were right next to us. As a matter of fact, I could not only hear the person speaking into the mike but also someone else on the boat talking in the background. -DWH

7:00 PM sunset began. -SLC

Friday April 20th, 2001

I always play games to make the driving go faster at night. Especially when there is no moon and only a few stars are visible between the clouds. Last night I was playing with the instrument display. As we approached clouds I would watch how quickly the temperature would drop. One time it dropped 4.4 degrees (83.5 to 79.1) in about 5 minutes. Luckily I only had a few sprinkles to deal with, it could have been a lot worse. Even without clouds it is pretty cool at night. I usually were a sweatshirt and a rain jacket to stay warm enough (along with my safety harness of course!). My other game is to watch the depth meter, which probably doesn't sound too interesting in water that is too deep to register on the meter. But, fish and other marine life do register! I was getting readings mostly between 5 feet and 7 feet deep. I couldn't spot what was registering, but I had a lot of fun imagining.-SLC

At noon our position is 08 44S, 108 58 W. In the last 24 hours we sailed 170 nautical miles (7.08 knots). Our distance made good towards the Marquesas is 170nm (7.08 VMG). We have sailed 1234 NM since leaving Galapagos. We have 1763nm to go. -Jo

7:10 PM sunset began.-SLC

Saturday April 21st, 2001

We had a relatively calm night sailing. Everyone had been tired, and this gave us an opportunity us to catch up on sleep, though Jo commented that he did not sleep well. In the morning Guy and I were preparing to raise the spinnaker when we discovered a problem with the roller furler. The aluminum extrusion that holds the luff of the jib had slid down into the drum. The set screw that holds the extrusion in place had backed out. This has happened a couple times in the past. Jo last worked on it in Panama. Since he was the expert, he ended up getting woke up. After about 20 minutes we we had it fixed it again, but will need to look at doing something additional to hold it in place more reliably.

Thinking of things to do........In the never ending battle to make Ladybug safer and more fun to sail and live on, here are some other things that we should look into in the near future: 1) Address the issue with the roller furler.(Don't want this to fail when we get hit by a squall and need to pull it in) 2) Improve lazy jacks so that the back of the battons don't catch (This often requires a person to be on cabin top when raising sail) 3) Improve spinnaker sock or come up with other reliable method of bringing down spinnaker. 4) Get some hatch boards to back up the sliding door between the cockpit and saloon. 5) Fix the bilge pump under the saloon seat. 6) Investigate making the water tanks part of our SSB ground plane to improve transmission. (Not crucial, but now that we receive so well, I'd like to be able to transmit just as well). 7) Look into modifications to make sea anchor work.

At noon our position is 9 13S, 111 19W. In the last 24 hours we sailed 143 nautical miles. Our distance made good towards the Marquesas is 141 NM We have 1622 NM to go. -DWH

Too many clouds on the horizon, couldn't see much of the actually sunset. -SLC

Sunday April 22nd, 2001

Good morning! Driving was pretty mello from 2AM to 4AM, except when the spinnaker sheet came loose, and I had to wake up Jo. It was all working again within 5 minutes. Not much to watch tonight accept a few sparks of bioluminescence. It seemed like we would go through patches of bioluminescence, it was not constant. Also the sparks were not dense, but each spark was quite large and bright. -SLC

7:30AM: The sailing over the last 24 hours has been fantastic. The wind has been 15 to 24 knots out of the SE, and we have been making good time with the spinnaker. It was sunny yesterday and clear last night. Other than the sheet coming loose on Stacy there was one other small problem when the spinnaker guy came loose on Jo. Guy (not to be confused with guy) and I got up and helped sort it out. Now we are being treated to a most excellent sunrise.

I just checked our progress on the chart. We are over half way! Only 1472 more miles to the Marquesas. -DWH

12 noon I was listening to one of our new CD's - Paul Simon "You're the one" (thanks Ryan and Linda) when I saw a bunch of birds feeding not too far away from the boat. We had fishing lines in the water so I turned towards the south 30 degrees and headed for the birds. Sure enough, we had a bite. It was only a small one, and it got away. But it was fun to anticipate the bite. With all the birds feeding I knew there would be a good chance. -SLC

At noon our position is 9:19S, 114:17W. In the last 24 hours our distance made good towards the Marquesas is 175 NM We have 1447 NM to go. -DWH

9PM Well, I think in some small way all of Dave's hard work on the radio paid off tonight when I got to say hello to my friend Natalie on Beacon. I have been using the radio in the afternoon to talk to Silverfin, Voyager, Sunbow and Talisman. I really enjoy talking to them. We talk about books, fishing, studying French, etc..... But getting to say hello to Natalie today made my day. She sounded really good. We are all so excited to get to the Marquesas!-SLC

Monday April 23rd, 2001

4AM Good morning Just got done steering the boat for 2 hours. I could only get the auto pilot to work briefly. But that was OK, because I was listening to the CD player (Tracy Chapman) and the steering was very easy. The wind was quite steady between 18 and 21 knots, and we are averaging over 7.5 knots per hour for boat speed. We are heading 270 degrees, straight west - couldn't be any better as far as sailing and wind conditions. The seas are much calmer, not so lumpy. The boat is moving along very nicely! -SLC

We had a squall hit around 6:30AM. All hands on deck to pull down the spinnaker!

During my 8-10AM morning shift we had a boobie circling the boat and checking us out. It is really amazing how much bird life there is so far from shore. I'm not sure, but I believe that somewhere between the Galapagos and Marquesas is the point that is the furthest from shore anywhere on Earth. Yet there is almost never a time when we can't spot birds. Most of them don't seem to care enough about us to get close enough for identification, but boobies always seem curious. The other life form that we see constantly also has wings but is not a bird. They're flying fish. As the boat approaches they get startled and take to the air, sometimes a hundred or so at a time. They are amazing to watch.

At noon our position is 9:18S, 117:09W. In the last 24 hours our distance made good towards the Marquesas is 169 NM We have 1278 NM to go.

We made some improvements to our spinnaker sock setup and flew it again for most of the day. Just before sunset we dropped it. We are in no big hurry and will sleep better with a double reefed main and jib for the night. And we are still doing over 6 knots, so it's not like we're just drifting.-DWH

Sunset began around 7:45 PM. -SLC

Tuesday April 24th, 2001

4AM My shift started with a clear sky, I even saw two falling stars (one of the falling variety, one of the shooting variety). We are heading around 230 degrees, which is a little more southerly than our daytime course with the spinnaker. But it was calm and the auto pilot did its job for most of the 2 hours. There were a few clouds by the end of my shift.-SLC

8:20AM I've just finished my 6 to 8 shift and watched the sun rise at 8AM. It's been rising around 10 to 15 minutes later each day. When we left the Galapagos it was rising around 5:30AM. By the time we get to the Marquesas I will be finishing my morning shift in the dark. Today we will catch fish... -Guy

At noon our position is 10:05S, 119:38W. In the last 24 hours our distance made good towards the Marquesas is 150 NM We have 1128 NM to go. -DWH

This will be one of my last sunset shifts. The sun is setting later and later, but my evening shift is set in time from 6 to 8PM. Soon Dave and I will get to watch sunsets together, not while I'm driving. -SLC

Wednesday April 25th, 2001

At noon our position is 10:02S, 122:34 W. In the last 24 hours our distance made good towards the Marquesas is 174 NM We have 954 NM to go.

We had been sailing with the spinnaker for the last 36 hours, but at sunset there were some nasty looking clouds coming up behind us, so we dropped it. Instead we unfurled the jib and left the main down. Jo increased the auto pilot gain and got it to work with this arrangement. We are only doing about 4.5 knots, but it's nice to not be tied to the helm. -DWH

Thursday April 26th, 2001

1AM: The wind has come up a bit with gusts of just over 30 knots, so it was a good job to drop the spinnaker. The autopilot seems to be working with the gain set to 7 (was originally 4, I had changed it to 5 but that clearly was not enough). I checked the current. When the autopilot is making a fast move it can draw up to 2 amps. Overall in these conditions it probably averages about .75 amps.

The last couple days I'd kind of had the blues. I'm not sure why. I'm certainly happy with life in general. Then during my 12-2am shift I started thinking that I'm happiest when I'm working on a project. So, inspired by Stacy, I decided to write something. Usually my stories are true, but this time I decided to stretch my imagination and write a little fiction. So, while sitting at the helm, I came up with the idea for "The Spirit of Cathrine." I hope it turns out.

At noon our position is 10:06S, 124:57 W. In the last 24 hours our distance made good towards the Marquesas is 140 NM We have 814 NM to go.

Cathline on s/v Silverfin offered to send an email for us, so I had her send one off to my brother, Dean. He should be forwarding it to our families. I hope it helps relieve any anxiety that our parents are feeling.

We are making steady progress on improving our spinnaker handling. We dropped the chute twice today, once in the morning when a storm passed and then again before sunset. Both times it went very smoothly. We still have a couple improvements that we hope to make to the sock. Eventually my goal is for us to be able to drop it in less than one minute with only one person on deck (a second person steering). Unfortunately when we dropped it tonight, a block from up the mast came down with the halyard. I guess there will be a trip up the mast tomorrow. That should be exciting. On the average we seem to have about one thing a day that we improve or need to fix. This sounds like a lot, but compared to other boats that we talk to on the SSB, we are doing really well. At this rate Ladybug will be in better shape when we arrive in the Marquesas than when we left the Galapagos. A number of other boats are trying to arrange for parts to be shipped in or trying to find out if there are different kinds of mechanics in the Marquesas so they can arrange for repairs.

Sailing along with just the jib tonight. We are just doing 4.5-5 knots, but everyone gets a good night sleep this way. -DWH

Friday April 27th, 2001

Went up the mast today to fix the spinnaker halyard block. There was about 20 knots of wind and maybe 5 or 6 foot seas. It was a little exciting, but not too bad. Now we have the spinnaker back up and are cruising along at a nice 7.5 knots.

At noon our position is 10:03S, 127:22 W. In the last 24 hours our distance made good towards the Marquesas is 142 NM We have 672 NM to go. -DWH

It's 9PM and I've just finished the best meal I've had on Ladybug. I've been racking my brains to think if I've had anything as good as this but I don't think so. Stacy put together some of her mother's sun dried tomatoes with some other magic stuff and served it with verchemilli pasta and a setting sun. Yummy! -Guy

Saturday April 28th, 2001

Port engine died while charging batteries this morning. . Checked bowl on primary filter - no water or sediment. Bled fuel line at secondary filter - there was a little air in the line. Started engine back up and everything seems to be fine for about 20 minutes. Then it died again. Checked fuel tank - we have 1/5th of a tank (This is less than I expected to find.) Added 24 gallons from jerry jugs and bled fuel line at secondary filter - there was more air. It must have been sucked from the tank. Started engine back up and ran fine for 40 minutes. Then I declared victory and shut it off. Engine hours are 1575.

At noon our position is 9:48S, 130:18 W. In the last 24 hours our distance made good towards the Marquesas is 173 NM We have 499 NM to go. -DWH

Sun set at 8:35 (2.5 hours later than when we started the trip). -SLC

Sunday April 29th, 2001

4AM autopilot worked for most of my shift, so I continued reading my book... Cold Mountain(A big thanks to my Aunt Cheryl for keeping us supplied with great books). I am really enjoying this book, wish I knew more about civil war history. The wind has been around 12 to 15 knots, but we are still averaging over 6 knots. The wind is now coming from the east, even a little north of east. The sky is very clear tonight. -SLC

At noon (noon Galapagos time, we have not changed clocks) our position is 10:14S, 132:45 W. In the last 24 hours our distance made good towards the Marquesas is 146 NM We have 353 NM to go.

Stacy gave Guy and me haircuts today.

The wind is light and has shifted to the north east, so the first time in thousands of miles we are on a starboard tack. We have talked to other boats in the area on the SSB, and this seems to be what everyone is experiencing.

Stacy has a bump near her right eye and a slight fever. This reminds us of the time when she got an infection in her nose while we were coming back from Alaska on our motorcycles. Within a couple days her whole face was swelled up. It cleared up on it's own eventually, but when she told a doctor later, he said she was lucky. Infections near the brain are dangerous, and she should have been on antibiotics. We are currently only 2 or 3 days from landfall, but we don't want to take any chances. Luckily we are fairly well prepared for such a situation - several medical books and antibiotics. Since the bump was been getting steadily worse all day, she is now taking doxycycline. If we don't see improvement, we'll track down a doctor using using our Single Side Band Radio and get advice on further treatment. -DWH

I've just finished my 10-12PM (Galapagos Time) shift and had the exciting experience of seeing another vessel. It looked like a container ship and passed across our stern (around 5 miles away) going from south to north. It was "in sight" for around an hour. This is our first sighting of another vessel in a week - I believe? - Guy

Monday April 30th, 2001

Everybody took longer shifts so that Stacy could sleep through the night. Her fever is down, but she still has the bump near her eye.

Guy spotted drops of fuel in the water coming out from under the bridge deck. This was possible to see due to the light conditions we are currently experiencing and explains why we've been using more fuel than expected and why we have been smelling diesel lately. We got down on the transom and were able to see it dripping slowly, maybe one drop every 5 seconds. This is not good. After tearing apart the shelves in Guy's cabin to get at the front of the fuel tank, we are able to see where it is pooling and dripping out, but not the ultimate source of the leak. Unfortunately, the tank was mounted before the boat was fully assembled, so to get a better look and fix the leak, we need to cut away the fiberglass over the tank. I've seen a similar boat that had done this, and if done well it looks good afterwards and allows for future inspection. So ultimately the boat will be better for having it done, but it's not a job we're excited about doing.

The wind has shifted even more to the north, so at 11:45 we dropped the spinnaker and started sailing with the main and jib. It's been about a week since the main was last up. We are making slow but steady progress.

At noon (noon Galapagos time, we have not changed clocks) our position is 10:40S, 134:23 W. In the last 24 hours our distance made good towards the Marquesas is 96 NM We have 257 NM to go.

The light winds have the Las Vegas odds makers reviewing their positions on the Great Ladybug Landfall Contest. Early in the passage we all picked dates and times for when we would drop anchor at Fatu Hiva. Jo picked May 6th. Guy was less optimistic and chose May 14th. Stacy decided that it would take 3 weeks so she picked noon on May 2nd. My guess was that we would arrive in the night of May 1st or early morning of May 2nd. Since we would not come into the anchorage until it was light, I choose 10:30am on May 2nd. The first three or four days were slow as expected, but then we got into the trade winds and really started moving. It started to look like we might be faster than any of us guessed. Since I had the earliest time, I was the clear favorite. But wait. This is not a presidential election, so let's not start declaring a winner. There is a certain ambiguity that needed to be cleared up. When we picked the time of arrival, was that Galapagos time zone or Marquesas time zone. We still have out clocks on Galapagos time and had decided not to change them until we arrived (this way the time of our watches stays the same, most other boats that we talk to on the SSB are also doing this). The fair thing to do is to ask which time zone each of us was thinking of when we gave our answer. Since Stacy was thinking exactly 3 weeks, she said she was thinking Galapagos time. I on the other hand was thinking about the sun coming up and us then heading for the anchorage, so I was clearly thinking Marquesas time. When we take this in to account, Stacy's guess is actually 9am Marquesas time. She is 1 1/2 hour before me. Suddenly things looked very good for Stacy. The good wind and excellent progress continued, and we started thinking we might get in on the 1st, but on Sunday morning the wind died. Now we are hoping to make it in before dark on the 2nd, and the odds are swinging my way. It's not so much that I want to win, but no matter what I'd rather have it be me or Stacy. If Guy ends up winning I'm going to be really bummed.

9pm: The wind continues to be light - about 6 knots out of the NE. We are making about 3.5 knots but not quite in the right direction. Our velocity made good is 2.5-3 knots. Attitude, which is about 90 miles ahead of us has decided to turn on their motor in hopes of arriving tomorrow.

Stacy is not feeling great, but she doesn't have a fever and the swelling is down.-DWH

Tuesday May 1st, 2001

4:15 AM I am feeling better, thanks to the guys for taking over all of my watch duty last night. Dave woke me up tonight at 3 and I stayed on watch for 1 hour. I was very lucky because I got to watch a beautiful moon set. There were a few clouds and it turned a nice orange color as it approached the horizon. The moon was a perfect half circle (bowl shape), the top of it was parallel to the horizon.-SLC

At 8:30 (G.T.) We are a mere 180 miles from landfall. We need to make 5 knots or a little better to get in by tomorrow night. We are currently doing about 4 knots with less than 10 knots of wind from right behind us. -DWH

11:30 (G.T) dolphins sited feeding and jumping around us. They came by but did not seem interested in playing. Too bad! (10.24S 135.56W)

At noon (Galapagos time) our position is 10:24S, 135:57 W. In the last 24 hours our distance made good towards the Marquesas is 92 NM We have 165 NM to go.

Guy was talking to some boats at Fatu Hiva tonight on the SSB. They are having a big party tomorrow night. At our current pace we won't make it, but if the wind god's want us to party............-DWH

Wednesday May 2nd, 2001

Midnight: I put in some "fast music" (Musky Mike and the Mad Dogs from Mars). I hope the wind god's like the choice.

2AM: The wind has picked up a little and our speed over ground is 6.5 knots. If this keeps up we will be dropping anchor tomorrow afternoon.

8AM GT (5AM Marquesas Time): We are making excellent progress. Only 60 NM to go!

11:30AM GT: !!!! LAND HO !!!! The eastern shore of Fatu Hiva is 33 NM away. It's 40 miles to the anchorage on the western shore.

At noon (Galapagos time) our position is 10:37S, 138:06 W. In the last 24 hours our distance made good towards the Fatu Hiva is 128 NM We have 37 NM to go.

Anchor is down, boys are in the water checking it. Time is 4:40 local (8:10 Pm Galapagos). Beacon is here. I think we will be celebrating tonight. The scenery is beautiful, very dramatic cliffs. We will have dinner with some of the other recently arrived yachts at Rosa's tonight. I guess there is not much here, not even cold beer. It is a 5 hour hike to the next town which has more. There is a big waterfall here, can't wait to check it out. -SLC

forward to French Polynesia log (Marquesas, Tuamotus and Society Islands) 05/03/2001-06/03/2001