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Apsara's Log: On our way again - the South Pacific

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400, Friday, May 21, 2004
0 54.4 S 090 22.5 W
Boatspeed 8.7 knots

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We left Puerto Aroya, Santa Cruz, Galapagos a couple hours ago with our intended landfall Hiva Oa island in the Marquesas. We are gliding along under mostly clear skies with light southerly winds and a sea so flat one could almost water ski. But it would be a long ride; the Marquesas are 3,000 nautical miles to our WSW. This is like setting out to travel from New York City to San Diego and then still having 800 miles to go...and knowing that you will rarely go faster than 10 mph. The Marquesas islands are actually 200 miles closer to San Diego than they are to the Galapagos. (So if anyone is thinking of sailing down to meet up with us, you still have time to get there first if you leave from SoCal)

The weather has been delightfully cool here on the equator thanks to the slightly more northerly position of the Humboldt current. The Humboldt current originates in Antarctica and flows north toward the equator bringing cold water in the earth's never-ending attempt to cool its midsection and warm its poles. The water temp has dropped 15 to 20 degrees from Panama and is now in the mid to high 60s. This had kept the air temp a comfortable 70 to 80 and made for good sleeping weather. With in a few days we will be south and the temp will increase significantly.

The Galapagos were an amazing stop, as expected. 97% of the Galapagos are a national park and no one is allowed to visit the park except in the company of a park guide/naturalist. Most people take various sized tourist boats and visit several islands in the space of a week or two. We were successful in gaining a special permit from the department of Defense that allowed us to use our own boat to visit the islands so long as we had a guide aboard. In the Galapagos the wildlife is everywhere and is almost totally unafraid of humans. We had to step over baby sea lions to get ashore on the beaches, we were three feet from pelican nests as their young were hatching, we swam with the penguins (and the white tipped sharks and the spotted rays) we watched as large red marina iguanas surfed home on to steep black lava cliffs with crashing waves. We toured the islands with friends Suzy and David Dominik for a little less than a week.

For this passage, our longest ever, we have two Brits aboard as crew. Sharon from London joins us again after having sailed Antigua Race Week and Adam also from London but now living in San Fran. Both look to be great company and crew. We will be standing solo watches unless the weather gets dirty. Night watch is 2.5 hours and day watch is 3.5 so each person will have 6 hours of "work" to do and 18 hours off. We should have a chance for about 8 hours of sleep a night. The winds are forecast to be light and we do not expect to arrive in much less than 18 to 20 days. We all have good books and will have plenty of time to get into the rhythms of a long passage. Plus we'll be trolling for fresh fish.

If you care to track our progress we will be sending daily updates to a kiwi web site www.pangolin.co.nz You might try the following link and look for Apsara http://www.pangolin.co.nz/yotreps/reporter_list.php. The length of the lines is proportional to the speed of the wind (blue line) or the boat (red). The direction of the line is the wind or boat's course direction. Our first report will not appear until tomorrow. Let us know if you can find us and how it looks from home.

The faithful crew of Apsara
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s/v Apsara
www.svapsara.com

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