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Apsara's Log: Galapago Night

Saturday, May 7, 2004   N 00 59.46   W 088 13.02  

It is shortly after midnight as Apsara races southwest toward the Galapagos Islands. After four days of calms, thunderstorms, and varying winds, finally the wind freed and we have shut down the engine and are sailing at 9.4 knots in a gentle breeze of 11 true. A dozen or more white birds are flying with us, perhaps using the light from our ship to spot fish. They cry and swoop in and through the sails. The sky has a high overcast that is now illuminated by a just past full moon. It is quiet and wonderful and the sea is peaceful.

We have finally emerged from the doldrums, or the Intertropical convergence zone as it is formally called. The ITCZ is the area along the equator where the northern hemisphere's northeast trade winds butt up against the southeast trades of the southern hemisphere. In between there is no consistent wind and often squally weather with electrical storms. The first night the sky was alive with bolts of lightening on all sides; during the day the sky opened and it rained hard for hours.

Sometime tomorrow we will both sight land, the Galapagos, and cross the equator sailing into the southern hemisphere almost eleven months after we left Finland. It is hard to believe that we were once at 64 degrees north - 150 miles south of the Arctic circle. The ship's log is approaching 10,000 miles and we are over half way to our goal of New Zealand - only 8,000 miles to go.

Would that they all be as sublime as tonight.

s/v Apsara

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