April 22, 2011

Sail to the South Pacific-Day 13: Crossing the Equator

Yesterday was our first irritable, grumpy, no good, very bad mood day. Actually beyond snapping at each other a few times and just generally each wanting a bit of peace, and maybe a long walk, it wasn't too bad. And mostly it illustrated how happy we've all been on the voyage.

The solution was to take a bit of time by ourselves and cool off. And by cool off, I mean physically-it's freaking hot out here (with morning air temps in the shade starting at 30 C and the water running at 27 C). Finding a cool space of your own isn't as tough as you might think--and didn't require anyone to go swimming. Generally we sit around the settee chatting, reading, eating or watching Maia play. Or we hangout in the cockpit chatting, reading, trimming sails or watching Maia play. But yesterday I hunkered down on the roof in the shade of a sail and then Maia headed up to the nets and played in her own personal water park for a while before returning to the cabin and asking for the 1000th time, "Are we at the Equator yet?"

We will cross the equator today (as will four of the boats we left with--which is super cool, sadly we'll all be 60+ miles apart so there won't be a big party, or yoga class...). But crossing the equator means we'll sail from the northern hemisphere into the southern (where maybe it will be cooler--seems how winter is coming down there...). I suggested Maia pump the head (toilet) as we cross, just to see if the coriolis effect is strong enough to set the water swirling the other way, but she's opted to plan a ceremony for Poseidon that includes stopping the boat for a swim (a slightly interesting prospect now that we're scooting along at 5-7 knots in a really large southern swell), dressing up, making an offering to Poseidon and drinking champagne.

Transitioning from Pollywog to Shellback at the equator is a pretty old tradition. And usually it's up to the Shellbacks aboard (experienced Ocean crossing sailors) to initiate the Pollywogs with tricks and torments. But seems how we're still a boat load of Pollywogs and we're all going to become Shellbacks together--we're opting for a friendlier initiation. One that includes gifts, a nice dinner and maybe something chocolate.

While we wait for the equator (we'll cross this afternoon)--we're taking advantage of the calmer seas (and power/water-making sunshine) to catch-up on laundry (we did one load last week). We don't wear much while out--Maia and I favour cotton PJ's while Ev leans towards his typical shorts and t-shirts. But daily showers mean our towels are piling up. So the 5-gallon buckets are full in the cockpit and I'm hoping some of the sloshing caused by the swell will do the work of scrubbing. It's the drying that's the trick though--we use lifelines as clotheslines but if we move faster than 7 knots things can get mighty wet out there--and dousing clean clothes in salt water sort of defeats the whole effort.

All is well aboard Ceilydh though. Maia's attention is equally split between our equator crossing celebration and getting the details out to the Easter Bunny about where to find her (she's hoping those who are further east might put in a word for her). Ev is enjoying a problem free sail and I'm turning my head back to work. It seems the assignment fairy can, and did, find me at sea and I have several deadlines waiting to greet me in Hiva Oa.

Yesterday was our slowest day yet: 126 miles. But we've come 1900 miles in <13 days, so we're not going to complain, especially because we just heard of someone who's been out for >30 days...
N 00 10 W 127 00
Update--couldn't get a connection this AM. but as of noon local time and 19:00 UTC our position was:
00 00 000 W 127 06
*note to Barb and Michael: Ev says that equator crossings are celebrated just like birthdays are. And be sure to pull in your fishing lines before stopping to celebrate. Just saying...

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