The Invisible Line
23 April 2011 | South Atlantic
On Saturday 23 April, at 05:01 local time (06:01 UTC or 08:01 SAST), we crossed that invisible line called the equator, whilst at 16 deg. 42.48 minutes west. There was no celebration as the only person awake at the time was Dave - it was his watch. However, I did have a bottle of South African "bubbly" in my cabin that we chilled for the day and at 5pm celebrated the event and gave a little to Neptune te ensure good winds and safe sailing in the Northern Hemisphere. Nothing like a bit of old sailors superstition to add to the event!
The last few days have involved a lot of motoring and not too much sailing as we are in what is known as the ITCZ or, using the old fashion term, the doldrums. There has been not enough wind to sail by but just enough of a breeze to keep us all from cooking. Today the thermometer only showed 30 degrees C, but coupled with the humidity, conditions are very uncomfortable. But, this is what I expected and we just have to acclimatise ourselves to it for a while.
The Cape Verde Islands are north-northwest of us (about 900 nautical miles) and we should pass them, leaving them to starboard, in about six days. I would only stop there if it was absolutely necessary as my previous experience there was not a pleasant one - lots of crime and drug addicts! So, at the moment our plans are to continue all the way to Cadiz, Spain, where we will re-fuel and take on some fresh water and provisions. A few weeks hard sailing lies ahead of us!
On board life is actually quite boring. Sleep, stand watch, sleep, play cards, eat, stand watch etc. Each morning at 06:00 we put out our fishing lines and hope for a nice fat Dorado. Nah, not today, only skipjack, which is not the tastiest of fish. Josh did manage to hook a nice big Dorado yesterday, but as he was struggling to land it on the boat, the fish gave one final leap out of the water, straight into Josh, knocking him back onto the deck and at the same time the hook came out and we now have the story of "the one that got away". Oh well, we just hope for some more to take the lure in the days to come.
After departing Ascension I started our "Ship Spotting Competition", which runs until we are about 100 nautical miles from Cadiz. The score card is still blank - we actually have not seen another ship since about half way to St Helena. The prize for the person spotting the most ships on this leg is still to be decided. However, it will most likely be a good bottle of some fine Turkish plonk!
Our email has been down for the past 48 hours and thus our latest positions did not show on ShipTrak. However, this has now been rectified by the Winlink team and all appears to be back up and working.
Hope you all are having a fine Easter weekend with lots of bunnies bringing chocolate eggs - we had a packet of mini Bar One chocolates to celebrate, which Mathys promptly depleted during his watch.
Until the next blog report, regards from Josh, Dave, "Bar One" Mathys and myself, John