Day 147, Year 1: Fifth Day, Windbird’s Passage to the Galapagos
Date: Tuesday, March 13, 2006
Weather and Wind: Clear skies; winds 8-12 early SW, 1-5 knots later SSW
Daytime Air Temperature: 83 degrees F daytime, 81 degrees F at night
Water Temperature: 83 degrees F
Latitude: 01 degrees 42 minutes
Longitude: 086 degrees 50 minutes
Location: Panama to Galapagos Passage, Day 5
Miles to Go: 165

What a glorious morning we had today. The almost full moon set about 0630 and by 0900 the skies were clear and we were sailing in 8 to 12 knots of wind. This was unexpected, and a peaceful retreat from the constant hum of the engine. The seas out here are very calm. There are swells, but they are ever so gentle. We still have a favorable current of about 2 knots carrying us along and if all goes well, we will arrive in Puerto Ayoro, Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos, Ecuador between noon and 1600 on Wednesday-much earlier than we had predicted.

We had a delightful breakfast this morning. I sliced some apples, cheese, made some toast and cut up some of the best mangos we have ever tasted. It is hard to describe the feeling of total contentment that comes from having a relaxed early morning breakfast while sailing gently along on peaceful seas.

Mid-morning we spotted what we think were white sharks off our port side. Glad we hadn’t decided to jump in for a swim. While we were sailing, Mark took advantage of the time to change the oil, the oil filter, and fuel filter. Then we started the hunt for inline filters for our forward head. This boat is not that big, but after an entire day of turning the boat inside out, we did not find the filters. We are going to try again tomorrow. Sometime during the hunt, the wind died and we had to start the engine once again, but motoring along on these calm seas is certainly more relaxing than any motoring we did in the Atlantic.

Tomorrow night we should cross the equator. Evidently there are “crossing the line” rituals that must be followed. Our daughter Heather sent this from Wikipedia: ‘Seafaring tradition maintains that all sailors who cross the equator during a nautical voyage must undergo rites of passage and elaborate rituals initiating them into The Solemn Mysteries of the Ancient Order of the Deep. These rituals date back to the Middle Ages, though the current ceremonies are most likely derived from Viking traditions. Those who have never “crossed the line” are derisively referred to as “pollywogs” or simply “slimy wogs”. Upon completion of the initiation ceremony, the wogs are then known as “trusty
shellbacks”. Generally, the initiation rituals include a dunking in or dousing with seawater, suspension of pay (which some websites say in modern days has been supplanted with an offering to Neptune of coins from the last port of call), being forced to eat gross concoctions, and groveling at the feet of a fully costumed, seaweed-draped “Neptune”.’ Heather went to say, “Of course, all of this is followed by a raucous party with much rum (some say champagne can be substituted). And, of course, Neptune must be cut in on the party as well. What to do when you have no shellbacks on hand is a bit of a dilemma, but I think at the very least a bucket of seawater per person and a couple of good stiff rum drinks are in order. :)”

My take on this is that anyone reading this log should celebrate with us by dousing a loved one with a bucket (or a glass) of water at about 2200 tomorrow night. That should be the time when we reach the equator under the light of a full moon. I think it is a good omen that we are crossing on the night of the full moon-and I don’t think I will need to worry about any howling wolves out here. Mark and I think a good dousing of sea water followed by drinking a bottle of the wine we first drank together 33 years ago should suffice as our celebration. In anticipation of this event, I have had a bottle of Louis Jadot Pouilly-Fouisse hidden away. And of course, we will send coins from previous ports overboard as our offering to Neptune. Let us know if you join in the celebration.