Lat: 3 30.934′ N
Lon: 81 00.711′ W

Well, we’ve been motoring SSW almost the whole time since we posted our last blog. We seem to be south of the ITCZ as the skies are only partly cloudy now, we haven’t had any rain squalls for a day or so, and the wind is blowing pretty consistently out of the SSW. Unfortunately, the direction of the wind prevents us from sailing due South to get a better angle to the Galapagos and from sailing the rhumb line to the Glapagos. Hopefully we’ll be far enough south by the end of today that the wind will either have shifted more to the South or we’ll be able to sail close-hauled close to the rhumb line. So far the engines have done well, but it would be nice to turn them off and sail.

As a note, we only use one engine at a time for the best fuel efficiency. We make around 6-6.5 knots with both engines and make around 4 knots with one engine, so using two engines burns twice the fuel but only get you 50% more speed. At the last fuel-up in Panama City, it looked like we were getting between 1/3 and 1/2 gallon per hour. We carry about 100 gallons in the tanks and another 28 gallons in jugs, so at 1/2 gallon per hour we have a motoring range of about 1000 miles, which is quite a bit, although sailors generally dislike using the engines unless they have to. Unfortunately, there’s a contrary current for the first 2/3 of this trip, so we’re often making less than 4 knots. Oh well, at least the seas that we’re motoring into have been pretty small and should remain that way.

Wes put a line out yesterday and it looks like the lure, which was around 6-8″ or so, was bitten completely off. We’ll have to keep a better eye on the line.

Lauren and I saw a really interesting fish yesterday when the boat was stopped for a second. We were switching from running the starboard engine to running the port engine and the port engine didn’t have any water in the exhaust, which means something is wrong in the raw water system and the engine will overheat sooner rather than later. I killed the engine and went down to have a look while Lauren started it. The belt for the raw water pump wasn’t spinning. I nudged it with my finger and it started working just fine. Apparenly the belt is a little loose and didn’t have quite enough force to overcome the initial friction of the pump impeller. During this operation we were just floating in the water and Lauren noticed a large fish only a foot or two from the boat. I came up to look and it was about 4 feet long, fairly flat, and in the shape of an upside-down “U”, with it’s “head” near the curved part of the “U” and one fin sticking out from each side at the base of the inverted “U”, near it’s aft end. It definitely something I remember seeing in books before, but we don’t have it in our books on-board so we took a few pics and will look it up when we get to the Galapagos.

Other than that, bug spray showers and apple pie were the highlight of the day.