Sunday, April 17, 2016

Day 13 - The Southern Hemisphere, Equator, and Shellbacks

Greetings all from SS, BL, and TC,

Date/GMT: 2016/04/17
Status: Enroute - all good
Position: 00' 00N 132 36' W (700 nm NNE of Finish/Nuku Hiva; 1924 nm SSE of Cabo)
Winds (T): 100 (E) @ 12-17 kts
Perf: Boat Speed Over Ground 7-8 kts COG 210 M

(SS &TC)

One of the numerous milestones we have been looking forward to on this journey is to cross the equator and change our status from Pollywog to Shellback. (A sort of Navy tradition.) Today it's official! As of 11:49:24 Zulu (04:49:24 Pacific Daylight Time) Cinnabar carried us into the Southern Hemisphere. Shortly beforehand, the moon set and the night sky became lit up by a stunning display of stars and planets to greet us into the new hemisphere. We were told to expect light downwind or no wind, a motor across the equator, and a jump in the ocean if we were lucky. Ha! We've been zipping along on a close reach (!!) since yesterday morning straight down the rhumb line at 7-9 knots SOG (speed over ground) without missing a beat. Who knew that we would cross the equator, upwind, in just terrific sailing conditions? What a treat, and Cinnabar couldn't be happier.

Immediately after crossing, in the dark at 5 AM (local) we had our special crossing ceremony by red headlamp and it was just perfect, making our special toasts of grog to friends and family past (who have left us), present, and future; and of course, making it "a double" offering for Neptune's share! Per tradition, veteran crosser Bruce played King Neptune, bonked us on the head with a pool noodle (knighted us) and thusly welcomed Tom and Sylvia into the Shellbacks Club. We put a bit of a dent in our bottle of grog, but it was all for a good cause and don't forget that the real King Neptune got a couple of generously sized swigs himself that we splashed into the ocean in the hopes of continued primo conditions.

For the record, we saw no yellow line, or white bioluminescence, or other magic marker to denote the equatorial boundary. We only knew because now the water flushes down the heads counterclockwise; just kidding. We knew only because 4 of our GPS's told us so (and they agreed)! From now on we start gaining latitude, but in the SOUTHERLY direction.

A couple of hours later we were surprised by a hail on our VHF radio from our friends Vandy and Eric aboard the sailboat Scoots. They saw on their AIS that we were within range of a VHF radio call and it turns out they had also crossed the equator in the same area less than an hour before us. They have a 53' boat and left Puerto Vallarta around the same time we left La Paz, so it's quite a coincidence that we crossed the equator within one hour and 18 miles of each other.

Later this morning we had a special equator-crossing Sunday brunch to continue the celebration, and yesterday we made a big batch of chocolate truffle brownies for treats.

Onward to the Marquesas!


  1. Congratulations on becoming a Shellback and joining the rest of us in a very exclusive club :-)

    s/v FatDash