Monday, March 31, 2008

Crossing the Equator

It is March 31 today, and we are motoring along at about 5 knots but have a counter current of a knot. The past two days have been interesting. We spent March 29 doing laundry and making costumes for our equator crossing. Later that night around 12 midnight, Steve woke me up for my watch and five minutes later I was stepping into the cockpit when I looked to my right and saw the lights of a ship. Now the ship was about a 1/2 mile away, so you can imagine my thoughts. I called to Steve and he came right up. Just then the skipper called us on the radio. We had no engine, so we had to tack through a 360-degree turn in order to let the ship pass, and that will get the adrenaline pumping. Several other boats have also had close calls with ships.

The other day I baked a pineapple upside down cake and yesterday, I baked some bread. I made a loaf and some dinner rolls out of whole wheat, and they turned out to be delicious. These treats make life better.

Unfortunately, during the past few days the winds have died down considerably so we did not have very good days--only 100 miles or so each day. Our first two days out we made 149 miles each day. Last night the wind died completely, and we ended up being carried by a current back to the north and gave up 5 miles. We have had some fuel problems, so we have not used the engine; however, Steve got the engine running, but only at low speed. It is enough, however, to get us on our way again. Everyone in close proximity to us is complaining about the same thing. We all seem to be in a hole. We had hoped to cross the equator last night, but we obviously didn't make it. We are hoping that the wind will pick up this afternoon. Steve also had to go into the water to check our prop to be sure nothing had tangled around it. He said that is was a little unsettling because of the thought of sharks; however, the water was warm and absolutely crystal clear, which helped to make it a little easier. The prop was clear, which was good news.

I have to say that one of the prettiest things about being out here are the sunsets and sunrises. During the sunrise, streaks of white light shoot up into the blue sky. It is especially beautiful when there are clouds present. During the setting of the moon, the light rays shine down through the clouds. So far we have not seen the green flash.

We will chug along today and hopefully reach the equator by around 9 o'clock. We have our party favors all ready to go and our costumes, such as they are, ready to put on. We also have the mandatory gift for King Neptune in the form of scotch and wine. I thought we could throw in some homemade bread as well. We don't want to have to wait any longer--we need to get past this milestone.

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