Day 11, the world turns upside down
02 June 2021 | 00 46.495'S:95 51.030'W, At sea to Nuku Hiva
00 46.495 S
95 51.030 W
Weather; warm and sunny, wind 5 Ð 15 knots, waves 2 metres
OMG, no sooner had I typed the word "June" yesterday than the fishing line began to zing out at an alarming rate, be careful what you wish for! I was sitting at the furthest point away from the rod as it is possible to be in the cockpit and Gerry as you know had gone below for a sleep. I moved the computer and external hard drive off of my lap to the seat next to me and struggled to get myself around past the wheel on to the up side of the boat, unzipped the enclosure window and went to apply the clutch to the rod just as Gerry surfaced as he had been in the twilight zone and not quite asleep when he cottoned on to the noise being the line spooling out. By now the fish had taken off and was rushing towards the Galapagos Islands as fast as we were rushing away from them and the amount of line that had gone out was considerable. At the time we were doing about 5 knots, under sail alone so there was quite a distance between us and the fish on the line. Gerry began to try and re
el it in, stupidly not wanting to turn the boat into wind to slow us down (understandable in many ways as any gains we make from the wind would quickly be negated and we have far enough to go still without losing what we have gained this far). Anyway the tension on the line was enormous and made reeling the fish in a long and difficult process. For the next 45 minutes Gerry held on, reeled in patiently and fought the 5 knot drag that we were adding to the weight of the fish. It finally got to where we could just see it dragging through the water but far enough away that we couldn't identify what it was, but it was a good size Ð finally we were hopeful of fish for dinner! I got the camera ready for the triumphant photo, had the gloves and gaff on standby and we began to discuss where we were going to get it on board. Then within sight, at about 50 yards off of the stern, there was a ping and the line went slack, what a disappointment after such a long struggle. We don't thin
k the fish itself made good it's escape, we suspect that something bigger saw its chance for a quick and easy dinner. We had once again lost a lure with nothing to show for it! Gerry reeled in the last bit of the line and packed the rod away in disgust, not even bothering to attach a new lure Ð that could wait until tomorrow. By now it was coming up to 1.15pm so time for a late lunch, I finished sending off and uploading the blog whilst Gerry made us a sandwich.
We had just finished eating when our world turned downside up, to quote the Peter Gabriel song. A moment we have been carefully watching out for over the past two days had finally arrived.
There was a big neon sign in the middle of nowhere with flashing lights saying "Welcome to the Southern Hemisphere, where anything is possible". We presented our Equator documentation at the crossing to King Neptune and his representatives so that we didn't have to go through the ceremony of having one eyebrow shaved off, being covered in slops or any of the other hideous punishments that get dished out for crossing the Equator without permission. As we have done the crossing many times in the past we had nothing to fear and were cordially welcomed back to the South. We were now sailing along up-side down in calm waters with a pale blue sky beneath us, we flushed the toilet and drained the sinks to make sure that they were draining in the anticlockwise direction and wondered if the fish in the South would be a little kinder to our attempts to catch and eat them! Our Equator crossing was at 1.31pm on June 1st 2021 and we managed to get the last reading of 00, 00.001N as a scre
en shot before it clicked over to the South heading which we only managed to get at 00, 00.016S due to the speed we were travelling at and the slowness of the screen shot reset. When I have internet I will post the screen shots to the gallery as proof, as we have been patiently waiting and watching for this moment to make sure that we record it!
For the rest of the afternoon we did nothing except barrel along under sail doing about 5 knots. The night watches began after dinner as usual, followed by a cloudless sunset which wasn't anything worth writing home about, there decidedly wasn't a green flash but the sky did eventually turn a pale orange which disappointingly doesn't come out in the photos. For the first time in this part of the trip we had a beautiful clear sky which filled with millions of twinkling stars, a sight to behold, the only problem with the clear sky is that it makes for a very cold night and we know only too well that it gets darned cold on the Equator as we have photos from our last trip of us wearing fleecy tops at night, which we repeated overnight. As time to start sleeping came around the wind dropped to nothing and the boom began to bang and clang, the jib and staysail began to flap uselessly and it was time to start up the engine to keep us moving forward. We motor sailed for a good deal
of the night until the wind finally returned on my watch and I was able to turn the engine off and revert to sail power. For some unknown reason I also got to see the first 3 sets of fishing drift line lights on the water, these are always a concern as they can be miles long and aren't always lit up, they also have no indication as to how deep the nets below them are so you can't take the chance and pass over them just in case they are near the surface, the last thing we need is to drag a fishing drift net behind us! Luckily these ones were lit up and we sailed past them with no issue. When I handed over to Gerry I told him about them and pointed out that there were more just visible on the horizon and he couldn't leave his nose stuck in his book on his watch. A few more of these drift lines went past and then back on my next watch I had to seek Gerry's advice as ahead of us was a line of lights going straight across our bow, until now they had been parallel to us; straigh
t across our bow is a totally different ball game. We altered course to go around what we hoped was the end one on the chain, making sure that we weren't trailing the line behind us once we were past it, all good. Day began to dawn and we were both now in the cockpit, Gerry had his nose in his book and I was blankly staring out at the water when I noticed something ahead in the water that looked to be a big bird but it didn't swoop or fly off, closer looking showed it to be some sort of marker, I alerted Gerry who then noticed a second one off to his side of the boat, this was a different sort of drift line which wasn't lit and only had a flag at each end to indicate it was there, it was a good job it was daytime when we came across it as we were heading straight between the two markers. We altered course yet again to avoid any accidental hooking of the nets below the surface. As we went past we noticed that there were plastic bottles at a few intervals between the flags, ag
ain we wouldn't have been able to see these at night, it's a hazard we really could do without.
Gerry has done a quick deck patrol and only netted one flying fish overnight, our water leak at the bow has become a drip seeing as we haven't taken any more waves over the bow, it's time to start the sanding and repair work before we lose sight of where the water is coming in. Gerry got fed up during the night with the squeak coming from George and liberally sprayed lubricant over the working parts that he could get to with success in as much as the squeak has stopped for the time being, only time will tell if more needs to happen there.
Our running total for the 24 hours was 118NM, not our best but also not our worst, of that we ran the engine for 7 hours in total and sailed for the remainder. Time to get this posted.