As I write this blog at 12:15 am on our 14th day at sea we are scooting along at about 8.0 knots in 11 knots of breeze. And, the night sky is spectacular and includes a beautiful view of the Southern Cross. We have now logged over 2000 nautical miles and are in the final leg of our trip to the Marqueses Islands in French Polynesia. The boat just seems to glide through the water.
We are also now less than one degree north of the Equator and sometime in the morning we will be crossing it. We will celebrate this milestone with a special ceremony known as "The Line Crossing Ceremony". This ceremony is an initiation rite in the Royal Navy, U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Marine Corps, other navies and on other sailing vessels, which commemorates a sailor's first crossing of the Equator. Originally, the tradition was created as a test for seasoned sailors to ensure their new shipmates were capable of handling long rough times at sea. Sailors who have already crossed the Equator are nicknamed Shellbacks, often referred to as Sons of Neptune; those who have not are nicknamed Pollywogs.
Equator-crossing ceremonies feature Pollywogs receiving a subpoena to appear before King Neptune after crossing the line. King Neptune then officiates at the ceremony, which is often preceded by a beauty contest of men dressing up as women, and each department of the ship being required to introduce one contestant in swimsuit drag. Having no Shellbacks on board to take the lead on this ceremony, we Pollywogs have to be a bit creative.
We will celebrate dressing up (I guess I know what my costume will be) as well as swimming across the equator, toasting some champagne and offering gifts (likely most of the champagne) to King Neptune. Should be a fun day. And, we all look forward to becoming Shellbacks!
Day 13 Stats
Distance: 172 miles; Total trip: 1981 miles; Average daily distance traveled: 152 miles
Average Speed: 7.2 knots; Average overall speed: 6.3 knots
Sea Conditions: Seas have been beautifully gentle. We've had a clear sky with some scattered high altitude clouds. Hot and humid, around 80 degrees. Winds today were from the E to the ESE varying mostly from 8-13 knots. This wind angle has us sailing close reach which our boat loves.
Incident Report: Nothing at all to report. A fairly lazy day.
Total fish caught: One fish.
Produce Inventory: Lost a mini watermelon today - sadly, as we were holding it out for our equator party.
Meals/Snacks: Breakfast was Matzah Fry (can't have Passover without at least one morning of Matzah Fry - it's like French Toast but with broken up pieces of soggy matzah). Snack was matzah with our friend Daniel's homemade peach jam (thanks Daniel!). Leftovers for lunch which we knew would draw complaints from our younger crew: Brisket and carrots, plus lettuce salad with hearts of palm and mandarin oranges. Afternoon snack was Matzah Pizzas, a favorite around here. Shabbat Dinner was tomato, pepper and feta salad, rosemary potatoes, and Seared Tuna Balsamico.
-Michael (just north of 0.0 degrees north!)
At 4/23/2011 07:41 (utc) our position was 00°55.84'N 129°43.62'W