Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Day 3- Magic at the Equator

Time: 2200 Zulu (noon Hawaii time)
Position: 01-deg 31-min S(!!) 159-deg 19-min W
Wind: ESE 4 Seas: E 3-ft
Avg. Course: 181 T
Avg. Speed: 4.4-knots
Rig: 165% and full mains'l
24-hr distance traveled: 106-nm

Day 3 was pure magic. All morning there had been a strange heavy looking cloud formation north of us and southward were white fluffy clouds and blue sky. It felt like being in between two different worlds. After discussion and weather downloads, we believe that "strange" formation to the north marked the axis of the ITCZ. Right after the noon point, winds eased a bit and Chris shook the final reef- it has been quite a long time since Tao has had her full mains'l up and it felt great. Chris woke Shawn from her off-watch slumber when 1-nm north of the Equator, and the party ensued. A moment before crossing, Shawn pumped up the music and played "Break on through to the other side," by the Doors. Chris marked a point of all zeros on the GPS as we crossed, we took funny pictures, and made offerings of both cold coke (which = gold to us out here) and rum to the Ocean Gods and Goddesses. Fish (we believe dorado) were hunting all around us and we saw small squid launching themselves out of the water in attempts to avoid being supper. Conditions were gorgeous, 12-knots from the East with a slight southerly flavor, seas organized from the east at a comfortable 4-ft, and Tao sailing swiftly at over 5-knots of speed. Crossing the Equator by boat was a first for both of us and very special. We played music, took freshwater showers, and continued the party with fresh kang-kang (delicious) pizza. Welcome to the South Pacific!! And to answer the question that you've all been waiting for- No, our toilet still flushes in the counterclockwise direction (maybe this will change as we move farther south and the Coriolis effect becomes stronger?).

The beautiful conditions continued throughout the night with swift sailing through small seas under first moon and then star light. Chris was especially grateful as his last two graveyard watches have been spent dodging and hunkering down from squall after squall. Our GRIBS forecast at least 9-knots today and a bit lighter tomorrow. However, as the sun rose, the winds abated more than that. We dug out a larger fores'l, took the 80% down and replaced it with a 165% sail. This configuration has eeked us along at between 3 and 5 knots in light 3-6-knot ESE breezes all morning up to the noon point. Although we did just watch a squall march astern of us, it is nice to relax a bit from the constant anxiety of crossing through the ITCZ. As of yesterday afternoon, its axis was located nearly 200-nm from us with moderate thunderstorm activity only forecast to reach 90-nm from its axis. We will keep monitoring, but for the moment we are enjoying the mellow conditions and for the afternoon have even opened the hatches to allow some much needed fresh air down below.

1 comment:

  1. You deserve a bit of magic. Cheers! Tigiroy!

    Hugs and Purrs,
    Mum and Griz