Closing On The Equator
01 December 2010 | Northern South American Coast
The current we anticipated is with us, although definitely not as strong flowing as expected. However, we are getting about an extra knot of speed. On both Tuesday and Wednesday evening we had to drop the spinnaker and sail through the night with the Genoa alone, due to the squalls that are developing each night. This is slowing us down dramatically and thus our daily noon to noon runs are not what we really want. This said, we have reached some impressive speeds for short periods whilst under spinnaker during the day time.
Saturday morning should be an occasion for Dylan and Juan, who have never done an equator crossing before. Conrad has been designated King Neptune's helper and representative for the occasion and I am the designated photographer for the ceremony. We do not get too serious and the ceremony is going to be light-hearted.
We have passed the Brazilian coastal city of Fortaleza and the oil platforms that are offshore of the city. They were all over the horizon and thus all we saw was the glow of the lights last night. There was a dramatic increase in the spotting of ships over the past few days with a number of small fishing vessels thrown in for luck. The ship spotting competition is running well with all watches competing for the bottle of rum. The competition will stop about 100 nautical miles from Trinidad and I will announce the results on the blog. At the moment Dylan is leading, but there are many more sightings to come.
As I am typing this blog update, we have a very large squall going over us with the rain pouring down in buckets. It has been going on for nearly an hour and the crew have all had a free fresh water shower. Sometimes it can be a bit of a chance to soap down during a squall as, no sooner have you soaped up when the rain suddenly stops and you are left to wash down in a bucket of salt water. Not today, however!
Our fishing has been put on a backburner since we started our coastal run, but this morning, as soon as the spinnaker was hoisted, Dylan had both lines out to see if we could land some fresh dinner - nothing as yet but we can always wish. It is two hours before we do our noon plot and have to make the decision of what we will be having for dinner. Last night Conrad had a turn of whipping up a good South African dish of Boerewors and mash with peas and gem squash, served with fried onions and a pepper-mushroom sauce. Delicious!
Talking of fish, every morning, just after sunrise, the person on watch takes a walk around the boat to check shackles, lines etc. and at the same time throw any dead flying fish overboard. Conrad has been collecting the baby ones and has quite a collection stashed in his cabin. They are all dried out but his idea is to make a mobile for some kid. Imagine being a baby and waking up to see a flying fish circling your head!
Last night we also passed the 037.5 degree west longitude. This means we are now five time zones behind South African time and three time zones behind UTC. This leave is with only one more time change to make before arriving in the Caribbean. This shows that we are getting closer to our destination.
Well, more new from aboard Ultima Life in the next blog posting. In the mean time may you all have a great day - regards from Conrad, Juan, Dylan and myself, John.