Wednesday, March 3, 2010

A Day at Sea

S/V Aspen – March 4, 2010 – Log #32
Position: 5 degrees 30.0' N 80 degrees 30' W
(En-route to the Galapagos Islands from Panama)

A Day at Sea

We hesitate to call this a typical day at sea because there are no 2
days alike when you are sailing out here in the middle of nowhere.

Horizon to horizon is nothing but water and clouds. Oh yes, our little
sailboat Aspen is in the middle of all this of course! We feel pretty
small out here.

The day begins at 6 AM when captain Steve gets off watch. He has the 2
AM to 6 AM watch and Admiral Maria has the 10 PM to 2 AM watch. That is
how we stay up all night to watch for ships and things that could go
bump in the night.

At 6 AM the sun is beginning to rise and bring the steamy warmth of a
new day. We both take a look around Aspen to see if there is any
carnage from the night before. Sometimes we get flying fish who like to
rest on the deck. But by daylight they are pretty stiff and won't be
able to fly away.

Admiral Maria stirs and begins making breakfast - one of our treats for
the day. We tidy Aspen up and at 10 AM we check-in with the Rally boats
that we are traveling with using the single sideband radio. There are
29 boats in the Rally, all headed to the Galapagos Islands but not
together. We are strung out from near the equator to Panama City! We
check in to make sure everyone is safe and to hear what kind of weather
they have where they are.

Sometimes we visit with some of the boats we know via the SSB radio and
enjoy hearing from them. Afterwards we check the weather using the
satellite phone and retrieve and send emails.

Since we are both awake we automatically check around us for possible
ships in the area and adjust the sails that are constantly in need of
attention. Today we are flying all 3 sails because there isn't a lot of
wind. Our speed is 4-5 knots. Yes, you can probably walk faster than
that, but not on water!!

Out on the water we get to see dolphins leap at least 10 feet into the
air, spin around and splash down. Wow. Sometimes they play in Aspen's
wake as we sail by. Rays also like to jump out of the water and do back
flips. We hope they don't mistake Aspen for a landing area.

The admiral likes to cat nap during the heat of the day to catch up on
her lost sleep. Captain Steve plays with the sails, makes sure we are
going the right way and he works at his computer.

Contrary to popular belief, Steve still is doing geophysics for his
clients. We have to pay for this journey! He uses advanced hand-eye
coordination skills when interpreting 3D data while the boat is rocking
and rolling with the waves. Arrrrrrrrr!

At 6 PM there is another Rally check-in, followed by watching the sunset
and dinner. Showers are another highlight of the day to get the salt
glaze off us. The temperature starts to come down with the sun and that
is really welcome.

Darkness is almost complete once the burning sun disappears beyond the
horizon. Then the stars come out and fill everything around us. Our
wake glistens and sparkles with bioluminescence as we sail through the
vast sea.

Right now we have a huge moon that appears a couple hours after darkness
and makes the sea appear as light as day. This is really nice when we
are keeping watch at night because then the rest of the world doesn't
seem so far away for some reason.

Sail on sail on Aspen...

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