07 April 2011 | Pacific Ocean near the equator
My three hour watch ended at 3 a.m. this morning. Looking to the south I could see, for the first time, the Southern Cross above the horizon. It's a four pointed pattern resembling a kite shape and marks the direction of the South Pole for sailors south of the equator. The night sky, by the way, more than 1200 miles from the nearest land and therefore uncolored by terrestrial illumination, is really something to behold. Even before the moon rises, the sky is bursting with light. The Milky Way glows in a way I have never seen before.
The winds held steady around 18 to 20 knots through the night and we made good progress, 143 nautical miles in the last 24 hours. We have continued to have 16 to 20 knot winds from the North East throughout the day.
We gybed today to head in a Westerly direction, since the ideal point to cross the Equator and the ITCZ is still somewhat west of us. When we get to around longitude 127 or 128 some time tomorrow, then we'll turn left and head south.
For lunch today we used up the last of the grilled Costco chicken strips, making burritos with the hot chicken, cheese, lettuce, diced tomato and caramelized red onion. I washed mine down with a room temperature Tecate beer. When that's all you have, it's not all that bad.
Nearly two weeks since we've left Mexico, it is amazing how well some of our fruit and vegetables have held up -- and others, not. We bought under-ripe tomatoes in Mexico and store them in the sail locker in a paper bag. Ditto for apples. They still look fresh. The mangoes, we hand from a net under the solar panels. They are all as good as new. The grapefruit are holding up extremely well, though we've had to toss a few of them. Avocados, stored outdoors in a hammock, were good for 10 days. Limes are still good as new. Onions and potatoes, still good as new. Iceberg lettuce was holding up very well until the refrigeration went out but even now without refrigeration we manage to get some fresh lettuce by cutting out the wilted parts.