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Saturday, April 21, 2012

4/19/2012 Day 18 at Sea

Day 18 at Sea
Yesterday we crossed the equator into the southern hemisphere officially transforming us from Tadpoles into Shellbacks. We crossed over in the late morning with pictures of the chart plotter reading 00 00 001 South, a bottle of sparkling apple cider and bacon cheeseburgers. We had considered stopping the boat and taking a swim as many do as part of their celebration but I have a tiny phobia of swimming in very deep waters. All I could imagine in my head were thoughts of Great White's patrolling the equatorial line every spring waiting for their free dinner to arrive. How easy it would be to pick off the cruisers one by one as they plunged into the depths to celebrate with King Neptune.
Our days have flowed into hours of rhythms: getting up, going to bed, taking watch, passing watch, grabbing something quick for breakfast and sharing dinner our one sit down meal together. The incessant rocking and rolling has been replaced by hours running from squalls and trying to combat the hot muggy equatorial weather. The squalls are part and parcel for traveling through the ICTZ. They are the counterbalance to the normal lights winds usually found here. So our hours are spent trying to keep the sails filled and set with whatever wisp of air comes our way or frantically taking in canvas as the squalls blow through. Thank God for radar. During the daytime hours it is fairly easy to spot and track the micro storms as they build and flow but at night they are impossible to see or anticipate. The radar gives advance warning so we can avoid them all together and also lets us use them to our advantage by tucking in and taking a hold of the winds to help us on our way. They squalls bring high winds and torrential rains. The rains keep the decks cleaned which I love but also adds to the humidity and forces us to keep the hatches and ports closed to try and keep it dry down below.
The rhythm is an almost palpable thing and the term is what always seems to come forth when you talk to sailors who make long passages. On the one hand the day seems so long and at the same time the days are shortened too. You might think there would be lots of time to do projects or watch movies or work on a hobby but that doesn't seem to be true. The days flow into each other until you have no idea what day of the week it is and the hours are hard to follow as we pass through one time zone after another. The only real things in life are sleep, food, watch and more sleep. Oh and reading. I have read 12 books so far. Each sunset slides into sunrise and a kiss good morning morph's into a kiss good night as you pass in the hallway headed for a still warm bunk.
We should be reaching Hiva Oa in a week or less. Till then...kat

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