19 March 2010 | Pacific Ocean
Strong winds from the north allowed us to cover a lot of water today 125 nautical miles. We’re just under a third of the way there. Right before the sun went down, we sailed right by what looked like a golf hole flag with a little tracking device thing on it. We had some suspicions as to what it might be with our proximity to Columbia, but really what would be 160nm out in the middle of the ocean. When we noticed another, we pulled up next to one to it and picked it up only to find that it was a fisherman’s line with hooks on it. We sailed almost the entire night with the jib and main out only motoring to recharge the batteries. In the morning, the wind had shifted a bit so we altered our course and with the wind directly behind us we threw out the whisker pole and sailed with the main and jib in a setup called wing on wing (jib -the front sail – to one side and the main to the other). We saw what looked like a warship, so we got on the radio and made a call to them. US Navy Warship 401 responded to us, so Alex said hi and thanked them for “being out here and keepin’ us safe and kickin’ butt”. We also told them to call us if they needed back up. They thanked us and wished us a smooth sail pretty funny to get a response from a huge warship in the middle of nowhere. We were making good time and just before lunch a huge pod of dolphins were playing around the boat for like 10 minutes. There must have been 15 and they were just chasing each other around checking out the boat. A few hours later, we saw another large group shooting out of the water just to the west of us. There were a few baby dolphins with imitating the jumps, it looked like they hadn’t quite mastered it yet or else were just more creative because they were flipping around a bit more. We saw two more groups of dolphins throughout the day bringing our total to 6 pods already seen which seems like a lot to me. We had to move some weight out of the bow of the boat, so we relocated the anchor and we also dealt with diesel cap leak on one of our extra tanks. The wind died around 4 and we tested out putting out the spinnaker. The spinnaker is the huge colorful front sail that you see in most sailing pictures. It’s only useful and safe in low winds, so we tried, but unfortunately the wind died so we took it down right away. We all jumped into the water with the safety line out and threw a snorkeling mask on to check the bottom of the boat. It’s the most vibrant blue color you can imagine staring down into 3000 feet of clean ocean water. We started the boat game this morning. We’ll be keeping track of who sees the most boats on the way to the Galapagos. Since the Navy ship, not a boat has been seen and really all we’ve seen is a handful of birds and dolphins. It doesn’t look like there’ll be wind for another day, so more motoring.