Day 15

Crossing the line

We crossed the equator yesterday around 2:00 PM at 00.00 n 128.55 w on a bright sunny day with little wind. To celebrate, we rigged a life preserver on a line that we towed behind Sophie, and then each of us jumped into the water one at a time and went for a little equatorial ride behind the boat. Hazel and Leo each went twice. We then toweled off and drank a celebratory drink (with Trader Joe’s Sparkling White Chardonnay Grape Juice, of course). As part of this, Leo provided an excellent memorial toast to mark the occasion.

In general right now, Sophie is a HHB (Happy Hot Boat). Believe it or not, the temperature seems to get warmer as we continue to head south. Our current position is 02.07 s 130.44 w, which means we have traveled 185 miles in the last 24 hours. Our “trade winds” remain 7-10 knots from the east, so we continue to motorsail with one engine at a time along with the main and jib. Hiva Oa is only 675 miles away, and we have covered 2228 miles since San Diego. At this course and speed we will arrive at Hiva Oa on Saturday March 23, which just so happens to be Richy’s birthday. However, I am not sure we have enough fuel to use the engines all the way there, so our arrival may wind up being Sunday or Monday. We may also decide to arrive in Nuku Hiva, which is a little farther away but is where the boys will catch their flight home on March 27. We’ll decide as we get closer.

We’ve been motorsailing for 68 hours now, and although the fuel gauges indicate that we still have half of our fuel left, it’s been our experience (Bodega Bay) that the gauges are not always the most precise instruments on the boat. Reading them is more art than science. We’ve covered almost 500 miles traveling in this mode, and no one on the boat is complaining about the distance we are making. But we will watch the gauges quite closely as we finish up the trip.

With this heat and sea motion, everyone is sleeping quite well. I finished “Moby Dick” and have moved on to “Robinson Crusoe”. The Kindle Paperwhite is perfect for reading during a nightwatch and now rivals the bimini as my favorite piece of equipment on the boat. Dan is making tuna melts for lunch (using fish he caught and bread he baked), and Jenna’s linguini with clam sauce was a big hit at dinnertime last night.

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