April 23, 2011

Sailing in the South Pacific-Day 14: Easter Equator

It was kind of like a daylight version of New Years. We gathered around the GPS and watched the minutes & seconds count down. But instead of counting time--we were counting distance, watching for the exact point when we sailed from the northern hemisphere and into the southern: Noon local time, on our 13th day of sailing, Good Friday April 22.

Once across Neptune showed up with his trident and made all the Pollywogs aboard take a sip of a disgusting mixture of sea water, Worsetshire sauce, rum, then we popped champagne, made a toast to Neptune and Poseidon and as newly christened (and freshly tattooed) Shellbacks we dove into the South Pacific and swam in water that is four miles deep.

As celebrations go it was a pretty special one--we had wonderful gifts (more on a lovely (and uniquely fitting!) one from Hotspur when I can post the pics), messages to open, chocolate to eat & bubbly to drink. And when we were done celebrating we decided it was time to give in and accept the light air and hoist our spinnaker. Which would have been perfect, except we had left our fishing lines out, which sunk straight down, and while drifting with no sails the boat turned around. So when we started the engine to set us on the right track...

You see where this is going, don't you?

Back into the ocean went Evan. But it's clear, and warm, and blue, and he has a sharp knife. Within a short time our rudder and prop were clear and he was back aboard. Not long after that the spinnaker cracked full and we were again underway.

It always seems that the wind is stronger and the seas are bigger at night. And during this part of the passage it's true. Every night as we speed along under a waning moon and bright-star night I think we've at last hit the steady trades and we're back to 160-170 mile days. But then the sun rises and the wind fades away.

We won't make Hiva Oa as soon as I had predicted (I was hoping for 18-19 days) but we will be faster than two boats that are out (Gigi hitting 35 days and Aeolus on day 26). But as Michael on WGD says, it's not a race (mainly I think he says this because our little 40' boat pulled ahead of his 46' one but if they keep making faster days my guess is the race will be back on...)

We're into the home stretch though and I'm trying to commit the wonders of this passage to memory.
We made it to the South Pacific Mum and Dad!!

As an aside, it's Easter this weekend and Maia is trying to get a message to the Bunny. She wanted to toss him a message in a bottle, but we've failed to drink enough underway to free up the required bottle. So she's hoping some of you who may have Bunny connections could pass this along.

Dear Easter Bunny,
How are you this year? I bet you are very busy getting ready. I thought I would write you to tell you where we are. We are right in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. But I know you'll find us. We are south of the equator and will be roughly 650 miles from Hiva Oa. Our boat is called Ceilydh. It is a Richard Woods design catamaran with blue and green stripes and a modified cabin.
I read in a book that there was not one but seven Easter Bunnys--so I hope one can be assigned to us. Remember when you gave me that huge chocolate rabbit? Please, please. please set up an Easter Egg hunt! They're so much fun.
I hope you are well.
Lots of love,

S 01 09 W 128 32
Yesterday's run 121 miles.
Last night we had the last of our fresh broccoli with our first non-fresh veg (corn), steaks from Carne del Mundo and homemade cookies for desert.
We still have plenty of fresh tomatoes, cabbage, onions, carrots, potatoes and chayote but most of the other fresh veggies are used up or became overripe. For fruit we have a few last pears and mangoes plus loads of apples, oranges (amazingly the little mandarins kept better than regular oranges), grapefruit and limes. Eggs are still fresh.
Kelly M--I'm sending you a separate email but my file of gluten-free baking recipes disappeared. Can you email me one for scones (I have a premixed flour) and one for buns/bread of some sort?

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Lynda Halliger-Otvos said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lynda Halliger-Otvos said...

Sorry-formatting issues !!

Happy Equator crossing and may the Easter bunny find you with unmeltable chocolate and fun confections.