National Geographic : 1970 Oct
over my charts. I had about 2,600 sea miles to cover (map, page 506). The calm began to get to me, and I turned on the engine. For one thing, I wanted to keep myself moving so I wouldn't go crazy. For another, I figured 1 might as well use a good part of my fuel to push me through the dol drums belt, a zone of light, variable winds which stretches along the Equator between the northeast and southeast trade winds. I'd sail whenever I could get a breeze-any breeze-and power between puffs. It was tough. What made it tougher was that I'd arranged to radio Patti aboard Lina A at a given time. I did. I tried and tried, and I could hear Patti. She couldn't hear me. After a while I heard her say ".... can't pick you up ... love you and miss you ... Lina-A to Dove, out." It was very disturbing. I didn't want to talk about it to the tape recorder, because I knew I might break up. I talked about other things: "I made 69 miles today, noon to noon. Not a very good start. The sea is like a mirror. The sails flap. I've got the boom tied out, so it won't come crashing back and forth all the time. These winds are terrible. Not terrible winds, but terrible no winds. I feel like doing nothing. I don't care to eat." I began getting used to the idea that it would take a long time to get to California. One trouble with going under power was Shipboard surgery: Cruising in the Galapagos, the Grahams spied a pelican with a foot-long gash in its pouch; everything it tried to eat fell out of its mouth. Leaping overboard (left), Robin captures the wounded bird (above). On deck he operates for an hour, stitching the slit and wiring together the split ends of the lower bill (below). "The next day," reported Robin, "we saw it catch and hold every scrap thrown its way."