Tin Tin's Sailing Calendar

Monday, 13 March 2017

The Doldrums

Monday 13th March 01 51.2' N 86 74.6'W.
We finally had to give up sailing yesterday evening as the wind died away and we slowed down from a useful 5.5 knots to about 2 or 3. So the motor is on, trundling at the lowest speed possible to conserve precious fuel, and yet to achieve 5+ knots to get us there by midday on the 15th. I have a week planned in Galapagos, and aim to leave on the 22nd of the wind doesn't pick up as we could easily have to motor a couple of hundred miles south to find the SE Trades.

This morning the blue ocean stretches as far as the ease can see under a cloudless blue sky. The water is lightly rippled by a teasing breeze of 4-6 knots, which would ultimately get us to our destination if we allowed it to, but at no more than 2 knots it would take a 5 days rather than 2 more. Slow swells roll up from the south resting an ever mobile landscape.man occasional flash of white at the periphery of vision makes me think that there a dolphin or some other creature to enliven our day, but usually it is a little ripple that has a aspired to be a wave and collapsed in a tiny splash of foam.

Life on board is relaxed, Mark and Justin sitting below reading. Emily has just surprised me by doing my washing - a task I had planned yesterday, but which got postponed through sloth- which is now hung out windward providing welcome shade in the cockpit as the sun rises.

Our freezer has been behaving very oddly for a few weeks, and has now stopped working. So we are having to eat our way through defrosted chicken, mince, vegetables and ice cream. Most disappointing. I made a good crusty meat pie for supper yesterday served with potatoes (4 mins in Rosalind's pressure cooker) and finished off with pudding if melted chocolate ice-cream and tinned apricots.

I have been reading a Guide to the Galapagos which I found in the marina book exchange in Cartagena some weeks ago. The author Pierre Constant is a geologist and naturalist, but his account of the social history was the bit I found gripping! For example, in 1929 a strange German doctor, Friedrich Rittmer, and his assistant, Dore Strauch, asked to be dropped off on the deserted island of Floreana. There they set about making a home and creating a cosmogony can orchard so they could, live there according to their vegetarian and other philosophical ideas. The regular papers written by the doctor about his ideas and their experiences stimulated a lot of interest in Europe and the "Robinson Crusoes" of Floreana became much visited by luxury yachts. Then in 1932 the Wittmers, a German farming family, arrived with their poliomyelitic son, and joined in. Finally a Baroness von something arrived with her two lovers, Lionel and Philipson, and announced that she was going to build a millionaires' hotel. The resulting shack of wood and corrugated iron, "The Hacienda Paraiso" was all she managed, but she then announced herself as the Empress of Floreana and tried to rule the other inhabitants with gun and whip! Then she and Philipson vanished without trace and Lionel, who had probably conspired with the others to murder them, escaped the island in a small boat with a Norwegian sailor, but was wrecked on another island where they died of thirst and were found mummified on the beach. Next the doctor died, reputedly from a poisoned chicken given by his lover, although they were strict vegetarians. She returned to Germany and wrote a book called "Satan came to Eden" about the events, before she fell to the curse of Dr. Rittmer. However, Margaret Wittmer from the farming family continued to live there with her children, wrote a bestselling book, "Floreana Poste Restante" and died aged 96 in the year 2000, never revealing the full truth of the strange events. I must try to get those stories on my Kindle!

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