Day 562 [April 17/10] -- Under the islands

Today's Report
April 17/10 0800 JST

01°59'S, 89°43'W (South Pacific Ocean, 120 nm to a point 25 nm abreast of Isla Isabela, and presently 30 nm due south of Isla Española, Galápagos Islands)

An uneventful day under overcast, occasionally drizzly skies, with 105 nm DMG for the period. Winds were weak out of the SE and ESE at under 9 kts, as the equatorial Doldrums continue.  


Saito-san is moving under the lower-most islands during the night, and already at 1800 local time was about 30 nm due south of the first of the Galápagos Islands he will pass, Isla Española. 

This tour guide description of the island could have been written 150 years ago, apart from a digital photo that shows how utterly unafraid of humans at least some of the fauna still continue to be. 

Shown is the Hood mockingbird first identified by Charles Darwin about 1835. The several species of mockingbirds found here form evidence cited by Darwin in his seminal book "On the Origin of Species," which saw its 150th year publishing anniversary in 2008. 

According to this commentary on the "extremely aggressive" Hood mockingbird, "to tourists they are amusing, but to scientists who work in the Galápagos, they can be a major nuisance." 

As such, it gives a rather different meaning to the concept of "dominant species," especially if you have to constantly swat them off your head!

This island also very well could be the home of the albatross Saito-san believes he saw a few days ago. Ornithologists say Española is the only nesting grounds of the species of the endangered Waved Albatross endemic to the Galápagos Islands. These magnificent soarers can have wingspans of nearly 7-1/2 feet and live as long as 45 years.

Mating pairs, following months of separation, are just returning to the island in April after spending their annual sojourn elsewhere. Saito-san may have spotted a returnee with just one thing on his or her mind. It's mating season.

Another milestone was passed yesterday as the voyage's 20,000th mile slipped under the bow of NBSDIII.

Distance in last 24 hours: 105 nm
Distance completed: 20,104 nm
To Yokohama: 8,195 nm (distance remaining: 28.9%)
Heading: 320
Reported boat speed: 3.0 -3.5 kt (day's average: 4.4 kt)
Weather: Continued overcast, with scattered drizzle
Temperature: 30.0° C during the day
Barometer: 1006 hPa (stable)
Wind (from): eased to 5-7 kts SE -- expected to stay below 9-10 kts mostly out of SE and ESE
Waves: 1. m, causing enough rolling for Saito-san to complain
Current (from): variable
Engine rpms: 14.0 hrs, 1800 rpms
Generator: 8.0 hrs
Sails: Genoa 0%, staysail 100%, mainsail 1-pt reef

Position Map (click to enlarge)