Thursday, April 21, 2016

Equator Day!

We are now in our 10th day underway. Today we expect to cross the EQUATOR! This is fairly monumental as sailing goes.

The tradition is that until you have passed over the Equator on some kind of ship, you are considered by King Neptune and all the other leaders of the sea, a POLLYWOG. Once you have crossed that magical line, you become a life long SHELLBACK.

The expectation is that all Shellback's on board would work under King Neptune's instructions and initiate all Pollywogs into the everlasting fraternity. If there are no Shellback's on board, then libations and homage is to be paid to king Neptune with a wee dram of the finest spirits on board... And don't think that he won't know if you served him up the cheap stuff!

After paying suitable respect to the ocean, we can toast ourselves and our nautical achievement. This too is completed with the aid of suitable libations.

Our hope is that under a glorious full moon around 8 pm tonight we will make this historic crossing. Our original hope was to cross during the day, but that was not to be.

Here are some statistics from our first 10 days underway...

We left Panama City last Tuesday at 1200z. As of this writing, we have traveled 1160 nautical miles. We have been at sea for about 220 hours making our average speed 5.2 knots. That isn't bad as far as we are concerned. At 5 knots we should make Hiva Oa in about 33 days. That means about 23 days to go!

We still have a few fresh vegetables, but that should end in the next day or so. Between Christina and Shelley, we have eaten VERY well... We had some trouble with our watermaker, but we think we now have it fixed, so our water supply is good.

We have run the engine for about 40 hours or about 18% of the time. This means we have burned about 40 gallons of fuel. We left with 260 gallons, so we still have 220. Also, we are approaching the western trade winds that should push us all the way across the pacific.

Life on board has settled into a very comfortable routine. We only keep formal watches at night. So from 7 till midnight I am on watch, from midnight to 4 am Shelley is on watch, and from 4 am till 8 am Christina in in charge. During the day we just keep someone on deck and lookout every 10 minutes or so. To give some perspective, the last ship we saw with our eyes was 2 days ago! There isn't much out here... It feels like a wet desert on steroids! That doesn't mean it is boring. We keep busy during the day getting chores and work done on the boat. We eat together for supper each night, but there is usually someone sleeping during the other meals so we tend to feed whoever is awake. We bought LOTS of snacks so we will NOT go hungry.

Shelley and Christina have been taking turns making some GREAT suppers. Sadly we have not caught a single fish in the 10 days we have been out! Not even a bite... And it not just us, our friends, Lanny & Ginger (s/v SwiftSure) are about 30 miles behind us have also caught nothing... We hope that when we hit the trades, fishing will improve.

On our watches, we sometimes read, listen to music or old radio mystery programs. Sometimes we even watch a movie on a little portable DVD player we have in the cockpit.

The ocean gives so much. Some nights I just sit in the darkness and gaze in wonder at the incredible night sky. With no light pollution, the stars are like nothing I have ever seen before... And before the moon sets, there is sometimes enough light to read by! There hasn't been a day yet when we haven't seen a pod or two of dolphins... They are magnificent! We have also seen a sea lion and numerous turtles and baby Manta Rays doing acrobatics (we think they were boy Mantas, trying to get dates... So far, no whales...

Shelley has been recording all our seabird sightings in our log so that she can participate in an organizations efforts to better understand seabird migration and behavior patterns... Who ever said, sailors can't be useful.... Two nights ago, 4 Bobbies (the birds) settled on our mizzen and main spreaders for the night... This was all good until they started pooping on everything and everyone! They are NO LONGER WELCOME at night...

We are blessed to have Christina with us. She has been such a trooper. She and her partner, Derek have a small sailboat on a lake in Oklahoma, but hope to one day go cruising together. This has made Christina suck up like a sponge all the things we do on board... It has been great so far!

It is time to wrap this entry up... Thank you all for following along with us as we go places and do things that change our life in ways we could never have imagined!

More soon...
Kyle, Shelley & Christina

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