National Geographic : 1970 Oct
that I had to steer by hand all the time. So I didn't get much sleep at first. After four days I filled up my fuel tanks from the cans on deck, and got rid of them. The boat looked shipshape again. The kittens were getting really playful. When I went below they'd attack my toes. Five days out. I'd made about 300 miles. I caught myself looking forward, for the first time, to getting home, to doing something different. I used to dread the idea, but now I felt better about it. Maybe the biggest reason for this change in me was the knowledge that in a few months I'd be a father. In Panama we'd discovered Patti was pregnant, and we were really happy. I had a lot to get home to. My impa tience kept cropping up on tape: "Sunday, March 29, sixth day. I've been sitting here studying the charts, glaring at them. I only made 61 miles today, noon to noon. It's so calm you could put a glass of water on deck and it wouldn't spill a drop." Later the wind picked up, and I began to make close to five knots. We all felt better; the cats went to sleep. Kili wiggled his whiskers and twitched his paws in some cat dream of beautiful maiden cats and lovely lands. Lands, not seas. He hates the sea. For Easter I had a special meal, turkey TV dinner. I ate in the cockpit by candlelight. Well, lantern light. Very romantic. Only it wasn't. So ended my first week. I enjoyed doing things that took my mind off the wind and charts and the passage of time. Whenever I could, I worked on the plastic ship model Patti had given me, and I tried to pass the time by cooking. I kept trying to make bread. The first time I tried, the dough just lay there. Next time it rose a little, but it was still heavy enough to be dangerous if dropped. Water was no problem. When it rained the main caught the drops and they ran down into the groove of the sail track and out the end of the boom. It just poured out of there. I was able to fill my tanks full up. New Chart Brings a Hint of Home April 1 was no April-fool's joke. I was only 525 miles from the Galapagos on my ninth day out. I noted: "I ran into a flat calm again yesterday, and it's still calm this morning. I started the engine at 3:45, and ran well into the morning. "It's so hot I'm dripping all the time. I take salt-water showers as often as I can, but when it's this hot, it's hard to keep clean. "I got a breeze in midafternoon, and for a while I was scooting along at better than six knots. But before mid night it was flat calm again. "It was really very awful. I had sort of a breakdown at the end of the day. I had trouble taking down the main. Then I found that the line holding the boom out was knotted too tightly to be untied. I was working with a flashlight. I got so mad that I went below and threw the flashlight against the bulkhead and broke it. I grabbed 532 "I had to prod that horse all the way up. Coming down when he was heading home-it was strictly nonstop." Robin re members well the day he and Patti rode up the highest peak on Santa Cruz Island. Leaving the barren coast, they ascended into a rain forest of moss-bearded trees and huge ferns. The wild, varied beauty of the Galapagos left a vivid im pression on Robin. "I'm going back there some day," he vows.