Monday 26th November 2012 ..Across the Equator into the S. Pacific just before 4am...
I carefully took an afternoon nap so that later I could set an alarm to wake me up about half-an-hour or more before I expected us to reach the Equator. My timing worked out fine, being awakened well before we reached the 'line', but I was surprised to find the night was really dark - the bright, near-full moon of earlier in the evening, competing with many bright stars and a super-bright Jupiter in a fairly clear sky, had already set!
I took quite a few photos, wanting to catch the exact moment of our crossing - and actually managed it, for the first time ever!! But the sea was still pretty rough, and we were being tossed around quite a bit, so the thanks for a safe passage and toast to Poseidon/Neptune were fairly brief, and his tipple followed very soon after.. I'd decided that finishing up the last few drops in a bottle of Argentinian 'Scotch' from Ushuaia was an appropriate drink for a southern ocean, both to toast him with and to offer him in thanks. I was also pleased to see that the wind had backed slightly more while I'd been sleeping beforehand, so our course was now very nearly due S, although still not very fast, due to being so close-hauled.
I looked for the Southern Cross but was foiled by cloud that had appeared, so wrote up my log and posted an appropriate photo to go with this log - by which time it was dawn.... Time for more sleep.
When I got up again, it was a lovely bright day. I was able to adjust Fred, who's been caring for our steering solidly over the last week, and we came off the wind a touch. The increase in our speed was dramatic - from 4-5 knots, up to 6-7 knots - and that speed has been kept up all day long with the bonus of making a good course of 170T - perfect! We've started our sailing in the Southern Hemisphere in the best possible way...! Even the sea has got less rough, although the swell is still up at around 3 m but better spaced apart so we're still being tossed around at times - but not quite so much.
Wind has continued to be a good Force 4 - around 15-16kt from the East - and the Equatorial current is still present, W-flowing and, together, no doubt, with leeway, making our course (COG) a good twenty degrees W of our heading.
I've had a relaxed 'party' with lots of music, some singing and a little dancing - but that's not so easy on a boat pitching and heeling in the present seas!! I've had my last glass of red wine until next June, probably - someTasmanian wine that needed (!) finishing - with some kudu biltong and lots of tasty mango juice in between times - it's been a hot,sunny day! I've also enjoyed a very nice ripe brie - no lack of good food on board just now!
Radio propagation was good this afternoon with clear copy both to California (Gary, WB6UQA, in Santa Monica) and a station near Seattle. This evening's Pacific Seafarers' Net enabled me to chat to John, VK4DBJ, in Australia - they're inland from Brisbane and have been badly affected by two bad storms over this last week - and to Gary, ZL2GLM, in New Zealand and Jane, NH7TZ, on Kauai.
24hr DMG at 3pm: 130 n.ml.- making better speed now. Cape Horn LH was 4141n.ml.away & our nearest land was Hiva Oa, in the Iles Marquises of French Polynesia, 1257 n.ml.away; Mexico (between Tenacatita and Barra de Navidad) was1500 n.ml away to NE, with the Galapagos Islands, 1685 n.ml. to the E.
For my daily position and track:
See my website's 'Travels' page - go to www.svnereida, open 'Travels', then click on "Where is Nereida?"
http://www.exactearth.com/media-centre/recent-ship-tracks/tracking-nereida/ - courtesy 'exactEarth' using their polar-orbiting satellites - good everywhere, especially nearer the poles, i.e. should be good when in the Southern Ocean.
http://oceantracker.net?event=nereida - courtesy "Oceantracker' using geo-stationary satellites with good coverage until level with Valparaiso, Chile, probably.... Then coverage again from 1000ml WSW of Australia, onward to past New Zealand...