Day 569 [April 24/10] -- Good progress (back) as winds improve

Today's Report
April 24/10 0800 JST / 1700 local

00°39'S, 96°12'W (South Pacific Ocean, toward the Galápagos)

The winds improved as he tacked back to the east, putting him on a lightly engine-assisted broad reach with full genoa for most of the period. He made 108 nm toward port in the Galapagos, to attend to repairs of the steering system. 

Today at his morning call he had moved to within 370 nm of Puerto Ayora. At this rate he could be there in 3 1/2 days.

He's now back in the southern hemisphere.

He said the hydraulic leak had almost completely stopped, apparently due to strain being taken off the rudder due to the tack he is now on. He was able to get some sleep and sounded much better, with none of the fatigue we could hear in his voice yesterday after a largely sleepless night attending to the steering apparatus.

Distance to Puerto Ayora: 370 nm
Heading: 100
Reported boat speed: 4.0 kts (motoring)
Average boat speed. 4.5 kts
Weather: Clear
Temperature: 27.0° C
Barometer: 1005 hPa (steady)
Wind (from): 11-13 kts, SSE expected to be 7-11 SSE & S for next 19 hours
Current (from): E at 1.0 - 1.5 kt (unfavorable)
Engine rpms: 20 hrs, 1500 rpm
Generator: 0.0 hrs
Sails: Genoa 100%, staysail 0%, mainsail 1-pt reef

Position Map (click to enlarge)

Day 568 [April 23/10] -- It's slow going on eastward route to Galápagos

Today's Report
April 23/10 0800 JST / 1700 local

00°04'N, 97°53'W (North Pacific Ocean, Equator)

Thanks to those wonderfully favorable winds and currents of just a few days ago, Saito-san is now having a slow-going time of it as he heads against those same forces to return east to the Galápagos Islands.

Today at his morning call he was 469 nm from Puerto Ayora vs. 445 nm yesterday. That means in the last 24 hours he actually gave up about 24 nm westward as he moved south to set up the eastward tack he began at sunrise this morning.

He called about an hour later to say he was engaging the engine at moderate rpms and was making about 4 kts at a compass heading of 100, or almost due east. The winds are providing a near reach, while the currents are unfavorable from the east at about 1 kt.  

About 3 hours after his morning call, the late-morning beacon report showed that he had shortened the distance to the Galápagos by about 12 nm.
(Click to enlarge)

Meanwhile, back in Tokyo, port clearance to enter Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island was confirmed, and arrangements were begun to have the two hydraulic cylinders (at $1,176 each) sent from a distributor in Seattle, WA.

As it's turned out, Puerto Ayora appears to be quite a bit more than one might think, despite being in a highly protected nature preserve well out in the Pacific Ocean. 

At first we were thinking that Saito-san would find the place to be another desolate, if considerably warmer, port city like Punta Arenas back in Chile. There, a cramped fishing harbor offered the only haven. On shore, it wasn't much better, with few amenities for tourists, and almost nothing for cruising sailors, who clearly have no interest in stopping over. Saito-san never mentioned seeing another sailing yacht the entire 9 months he was there, other than one tall-masted sail-training vessel.

But here's how Puerto Ayora (pop. 10,000) is described in Wikipedia:

Puerto Ayora is the most populated town in the Galápagos Islands, with more than 10,000 inhabitants. For many people Santa Cruz may be the only inhabited island they visit while in Galápagos. It has the best developed infrastructure in the archipelago.The larger of the two Galápagos banks (Banco del Pacifico) is located in Puerto Ayora, as well as schools, hotels, restaurants, clothing stores, hardware stores, grocery stores, marine stores, tourist shops and night clubs. It is the best place in Galápagos for communicating with the outside world via numerous cybercafes with Internet access or telephone offices.

So despite any impressions to the contrary, the Galapagos are NOT just a group of deserted isles inhabited by 140-year-old tortoises and perhaps the wandering ghost of Charles Darwin! 

Visiting yachts at anchor in Puerto Ayora (click to enlarge)

Distance to Puerto Ayora: 469 nm
Heading: 100
Reported boat speed: 3.5-4.0 kts (motoring after sunup)
Weather: Clear
Temperature: 28.0° C
Barometer: 1007 hPa (steady)
Wind (from): 12-14 kts, SE expected to be 9-15 SE & SSE for next 19 hours
Current (from): E at 1.0 - 1.5 kt (unfavorable)
Engine rpms: 0 hrs 
Generator: 10.0 hrs
Sails: Genoa 0%, staysail 100%, mainsail 1-pt reef

Position Map (click to enlarge)