Sailing Southwest

Light winds, no clouds, intense sun. We are at 3 degrees north latitude, so less than 200 miles from the equator. A major daytime activity aboard is finding comfortable places to sit in the shade. The sun is wicked hot by 8am. It is a welcome relief when it sets, and I can enjoy the sliver of setting moon, brilliant Jupiter, uncountable stars, and the occasional satellite or shooting star.

Last night we sailed very close to the Columbian island of Malpelo — a huge steep rock in the middle of nowhere. Some authority hailed us on the radio, asking who we were and where we are headed; I’m sure we violated Columbian territorial waters. “Mal pelo” translates to “bad hair.” I wondered about the name. But during the day we saw many sea birds that must nest on the island (there being no other place for many, many miles). I imagine that the island is covered with birds/nests, and that gets me wondering if the name comes from someone having a bad experience with birds flying overhead…

In the afternoon we saw several bits of trash in the water, all within 20 minutes or so. Not sure why we saw this concentration. My hope (I guess) is that someone dumped a pile of trash in one spot, rather than this being representative of the state of the whole ocean!

And then we saw a pod of whales. They were small (pilot whales?), but one put on quite a show by repeatedly jumping nearly clear of the water! There were maybe five in the pod. Naturally by the time I got my camera the jumper had ended his show, but still I got some pictures of them surfacing and blowing.

Here’s a reminder that you can see where we are in almost real time, and see the track we are following, on the Blue Planet Odyssey web site. (Look for “track the boats” or something akin to that.) Also, if you are interested in the winds and currents that we are experiencing, check out This site provides a wonderful visual representation of both wind and current anywhere on the planet. I wish we could access it when we’re at sea! For the past 2+ days we have had a 1 knot current in our favor, which is a treat, and which stems in part from us looking at the web site and planning our course accordingly.

2 thoughts on “Sailing Southwest”

  1. Hello Zeke, Hey, I’m really glad to be following your blog. I’m an ocean sailor myself and next year I’m hoping to do the same trip you’re doing right now. I wish you all the luck in the world and I look forward to you’re postings. Bike Mike


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