Friday, May 3, 2013

Sailing Across the Equator One More Time

The last 2 days have been pretty uneventful. The wind has been light--barely sailable. We've spent half our time motoring and half our time sailing slowly. But with the exception of one or two afternoon showers, the weather has been exceedingly nice. Just not very much wind.

One highlight has been occasional visits by a large pod of small dolphins. These guys are about 2/3 the size of the dolphins that hang out in the Indian River in Florida. They are zippy and playful, and fun to watch. But hard to get pictures of.

After another 12 hours of motoring, we finally reached some steady sailable wind this morning. And now the wind has picked up to 12-14 knots (as forecast), and we have had a really nice sail this afternoon.

We've been dragging our fishing lines for the last 2 days, because the seas have been calm enough that it would be feasible to boat a good-sized fish and clean it. But we haven't had a nibble. Yesterday we weren't going fast enough, but with the wind picking up--maybe tomorrow morning before we arrive in Tarawa.

We crossed the Equator this evening at 6:56pm local time. We held off dinner and watched the sunset and the GPS, and then had a little ceremony as we crossed. First we toasted Neptune and thanked him for keeping us safe--we shared a shot of Fiji's finest "Bounty Rum" with Neptune. Since this is our 4th crossing in Soggy Paws, we are both already "Shellbacks" and there was no need of the first-timers shenanigans.

Then we ceremoniously spread some ashes on this sunny portion of the Pacific equator... first my Dad's ashes, and then our friend Henry "Mike" Mikelait. I also had a short sniff over other departed family members that I am missing (Mom, brothers Larry and Jimmy, and cousin Fred), all travelers and sailors and whom would have loved sailing across the equator with us.

As the seas are still fairly calm and the wind reasonable, we had a great dinner--pork chops, real mashed potatoes, and green beans.

We are now less than 100 miles to Tarawa, with an expected arrival tomorrow about mid-day. We are threading our way between two atolls tonight, to have a nice off-wind sail into Tarawa tomorrow morning.

Our friends on Challenger are about 100 miles behind us now. Jerry has opted not to run his engine much, and so they are still in the wind-less area, drifting along at 2 knots, hoping the wind we have found will someday reach them too.

We are already looking ahead to the next leg, from Tarawa to Majuro. There's always a problem with logistics--not just the weather, but timing departures and arrivals around weekends, and trying to avoid overtime charges. Ideally we would be ready to leave Tarawa probably on Wednesday, but that would put us into Majuro on a weekend. So we may have to either hurry up and leave on Tuesday (and then make sure we keep our speed up so we can get into Majuro and get checked in by Friday afternoon), or hang out in Tarawa til Friday, and arrive on Monday. But I see some fairly hefty winds coming in the forecast if we wait that long... *sigh*
Sherry & Dave
On our way to the Marshall Islands

At 05/03/2013 8:35 AM (utc) our position was 00°09.86'N 173°47.86'E

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