Tuesday May 31st, 2011 LTY time: 18:18 (UTC +12) = 06:18 UTC
Location: Just south of the equator and about 468nm NNW of Funafuti, Tuvalu
Position: 01 25.690 N, 175 41.617 E (cut & past this into Google Earth to see on map)
SOG: (Speed Over Ground) 6.2knots (sailing with Main & Jib sails))
COG: (Course Over Ground) 154 degrees True
Wind: 14-22 knots NE Apparent (wind as felt by sails)
Seas/Swell: 2.5m @ 5seconds out of NE
Air temp: 84.9F 29.4C
Sea temp: 84.6 F 29.2 C
Distance to Funafuti: 468nm
Distance last 24 hours: 148nm DAY #9: SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE HERE WE COME!
Today was a big day for Linda as she shed her status as “Pollywog” and officially became a “Shellback” at about 02:20am this morning as we crossed the equator. Marine tradition requires that all who cross the equator by ship for the first time must present themselves to the court of King Neptune/Poseidon and go through a “line-crossing ceremony” in order to join the Kingdom of Neptune and as such become a shellback. And so in the wee hours this morning as we watched our GPS meter wind down our latitude to 00 degrees 00.00minutes at longitude 175 06.822 E I pointed Learnativity’s bow into the wind to slow down right as all those zero’s came up. With the assistance of Captain Morgan (rum) we gave a hearty toast and several shots over the side to King Neptune. Admiral Linda presented herself before King Neptune’s court and was officially christened as a Shellback. With a few more words of thanks and requests for further kindness and generosity as he has endowed me with these past four years and we fell off the wind back onto our heading of 154 degrees, the sails filled and we were soon back up to over six knots sliding through the waves like a locomotive on rails of water in the continuing strong winds of about 20 knots. In spite of all that excitement the new shellback and Commodore Ruby soon retired to the aft master cabin and were fast asleep in no time as we continued to speed steadily south as the GPS gradually started increasing as it counts off the latitudes we were adding on our way into the southern hemisphere. We had planned to stop and swim across the equator but as it worked out we were in the middle of the night and the seas were running almost 3 meters so we decided to wait for the next time we cross the equator to try swimming across the line. The weather continues to be perfect, with sunny blue sky all day, star studded skies at night and winds steady at about 20 knots out of the ENE. I haven’t had to touch the sails for the past few days now and we have definitely settled into the new rhythm of life at sea on a passage. Without consciously being aware of it we watch the first light of the sun each morning bring in a new day as if someone has their very steady hand on a dimmer switch and turns it up ever so slowly until the sun first blinks above the horizon and fills in all the colours of the sky and seas around us. Morning slides unnoticed into afternoon until the setting of the sun turns that dimmer switch equally gradually the other way and darkness gradually engulfs us as now the stars take their turn in gradually increasing their brightness and fade into full brilliance against the increasingly inky blackness s that completely engulfs us from all directions. There is no sense of beginning or ending, just a constant, gentle cycle of change. It also becomes quite normal that your world is always moving and sits at an angle of about 20 degrees. We always had to climb up a very steep hill from the galley table to the sink didn’t we? Of course you stand with one foot far below and a long way from the other as you brace your hip against the counter when you are cooking and using the gimbaled stove surface to keep things from spilling as you work. Hard to imagine before you’ve experienced it and yet when you are immersed in this new world reality it quickly becomes the norm and you feel very much at home and at peace. I can appreciate that it isn’t for all, and I’m sure delighted that it is just perfect for Linda, Ruby and I. From just south of the equator, all of us aboard the good ship Learnativity wish you happy sailing through life. Whatever latitude and longitude or hemisphere you are in, and whatever angle your world sits at, we hope you are enjoying life as much as we are. Seems simple really; just do all you can with all you have in the time you have, wherever you are. And remember, the happiest people are not the ones who have the best of everything; they are the ones who make the best of everything they have. Night all! Linda, Wayne & Ruby the Wonderdog
Exploring the world one nautical smile at a time.