A day in the life

Day 5 – Passage-making on Pipistrelle

Now we’re in the swing of things, life on passage is not nearly as hard work as to begin with when we were dog tired. Perceived wisdom has it that it takes 3 days to establish a routine – and it does!

At night we run 4 watches of 3 hours on, 3 hours off, starting at 21.00 and ending at 09.00 the following morning. By alternating who does which watch each night, we do get enough shut-eye with lots of yawns and comforting hot drinks along the way. During the day the system is much more relaxed with cat-napping if we need to.

Generally we breakfast together at 09.00, listen to the net on the SSB which is controlled by a cruiser in Panama City, give our position and glean any useful information from other sailing vessels underway like wind and weather. After Bob has put out the fishing line, we have a session of chores when the deck gear is checked and sail configuration changed if necessary, the generator run for an hour, maintenance done (today it’s generator oil change) and general tidying up/cleaning. Elaine checks unrefrigerated fruit and veg supplies for signs of ‘needing to be eaten’ and turns unrefrigerated eggs on a daily basis, to keep them fresh. She would definitely not be doing this at home!

Midday sees us plotting the position on the paper chart and noting the 24 hour run as well as getting the position for the blog update into an email. At the same time wefinish off emails. Then we fire up the satphone to send/receive, download a forecast, and shut down the laptop and have some lunch. In calm weather it’s some sort of salad or just a bread roll with a simple filling if not. The afternoon sees us responding to incoming emails, finishing off the latest blog narrative, reading or snoozing.

Teatime is at 16.00 with tea/coffee and cake – the 2 dozen or so green bananas bought at market ripened at once despite being kept in the dark, so double quantity banana cake was duly baked a few days ago. Then time to reel in the fishing line before a shower and sundowners at 18.00 to watch the magnificent sunset. We have dinner in the cockpit but sadly not by candlelight, but by headtorch-beam. Failing ‘catch of the day’, dinner is something from the freezer prepared earlier. The generator is fired up again for a couple of hours and this time we make water – checking the quality of the latest ‘Chateau Pipistrelle’ before it goes into the tank.

Our daily run for the last 24 hours was 134 nm. Not too bad, but we’ve now ground to a sailing halt even with the mighty cruising chute and making just 1.8 kn through the water. So the chute has been rebagged and for the time being we’ve resorted to the iron headsail. This is to be expected just north of the Equator, and hopefully the winds will fill in again soon.

Important note for today 15th March:
We have altered our watches (= clocks!) to GMT -6 hours, local Galapagos time.

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