Our friends on Per Ardua threw us for a bit of a loop during our daily radio check-in this morning when they reported their latitude at 00 degrees, 31 minutes South. That means they were only 31 miles south of the equator. I looked at our position and realized we were only 42 miles south of the equator. We are continuing to motor sail northwest, and our course will bring us to within 18 miles of the equator when we round the lighthouse at Amsterdam Island at the northernmost point on Papua New Guinea early tomorrow morning. We then turn southwest for the final run into our destination of Sorong.
18 miles from the equator sounds pretty cool to us. It’s a better way to celebrate Black Friday than going to a store. We’re pretty sure there won’t be any other sailboats up here, let alone minivans or SUVs. We won’t be this far north again until we approach Singapore in 2015.
Sophie’s noontime position is 00.33.013 South, 133.40.384 East. We covered 126 miles as measured on a straight line in the last 24 hours, but actually sailed closer to 140 miles because we tacked to the south of Numfoor Island in order to increase our boat speed. Sorong is 160 miles away, and we are planning to turn on both engines tonight in order to make sure we get there by mid-day tomorrow. That is in the event of not getting a favorable wind or current.
We’ve covered about 1,200 miles since we last filled up our diesel tanks in Kavieng, and we still have about one third of our diesel left. We are trying to maintain a boat speed over 6 knots, and we have an 8 knot breeze on the nose so we are tacking. The wind is supposed to shift more to the northwest later today, which will give us a better sailing angle.
Last night was slow and frustrating. We had wind and current against us and averaged 4-5 knots for most of the night. Right now is much better, with Sophie rocking along at 6-8 knots in bright sparkling sunshine. The mountains on this big peninsula we are circling reach 8,000 feet in height. There is no snow on them, but I can see the tip of the peninsula 60 miles away.
There are a lot of fishing boats out here. I missed an unlit one by 100 meters at sunrise this morning while I was on the satphone talking to my daughter Sara. It was a 20 foot long open boat, just sitting out in the water 7 miles from shore. We passed by another pair of small fishing boats right now. They were tied to a buoy 10 miles from shore in 8,000 feet of water. I hope we don’t hit one. We definitely need to keep our eyes open. A lot of people live in Indonesia.
Last night’s Thanksgiving dinner was a great success. I even made a sandwich from the leftovers during my sunrise shift this morning. We used our satphone to connect with family and friends today, which was a nice thing for us being so far away from home. Tonight Leo is making pizza for everyone, and he will make the dough from scratch. Can’t wait. #Lucky.