25 February 2012 | Approaching the Prime Meridian
Another 'line in the water' is approaching, the line known as The Greenwich Meridian or the Prime Meridian and it sits at 000 degrees. It runs north and south, from pole to pole, straight through Greenwich England and is the frame of reference for all time zones in the world, ie GMT(Greenwich Mean Time) plus or minus up to 13 hours. From Greenwich at 000 degrees longitude , as one travels east, the count goes all the way up to 180 E and if one is traveling west from 000 the count goes dutifully up to 180 W and then both proceed down again to 000. Im proceeding down again.
That's all well and good. Getting the count right...that's not what's worrying me. Its this...its who inhabits these lines! The sea gods! And a confusing, spiteful, bunch they are. It is customary that one offers a libation to one of these (if only one knew which one) (if only one knew what they like) at exactly the moment one is crossing the line.
The last time that saw me doing just that was August 9 2010 close to Fiji at exactly at 12:54 New York Time, GMT -5. I remember it well. I had prepared the festivities, digging out my exquisite Single Barrel Whiskey and two very attractive shot glasses. I layed it all out on my cleaned cutting board. I put on my best Sunday shirt. I poured a touch of this extremely expensive, exquisite whiskey in the two very attractive shot glasses - one for the god and one for me. And I sat, and I sat, carefully watching the GPS countdown - 179 59 998 - 179 59 999. At precisely the moment of crossing, I delicately offered this very dear potion to the god's watery lips and...and what do you think was their reaction? Unbelievably, at that exact instant, a wave out of nowhere, a nasty big 'rogue' wave', hit Shearwater, brushing her aside rather ignominiously and spilling the toast all over her decks. You can imagine my horror. And it was to be... From that point on, for the next month, there was nothing but hardships to endure, that is, until I left Fijian waters: Dragging anchor. Nasty case of flu. Frightful weather. Fijian snakes hiding on Shearwater. Tangled mooring lines and more. Well...we had had enough. Still in my flu-ridden, delusional state, Shearwater and I fled. And then, again unbelievably...(I still get emotional)...to top it all off, after all the hardships endured, a gust of wind out of nowhere, a nasty big' rogue' gust, blew my favorite hat from my head. Helplessly, I watched as the hat that had so faithfully protected my head for so long, landed on those god-forsaken waters and...drifted away.
And that brings me to this moment. This is whats worrying me - as I again, inexorably, approach one of those god- infested lines, I realize I never figured out what went wrong the first time, almost 10,800 miles back. I forgot to, damn it! Was it the type of drink? Was it the wrong god? Maybe my shirt? What on earth do I do now?
Well, Im taking no chances, Im putting on my life-preserver!... barely 8 miles to go, 000 08 566, 000 08 565...to 000 00 000!!!