Heading out from Brazil, five on board, was time consuming! It took all day to get clearance to leave and so we had a pretty sunset departure heading straight into a night of keeping a close eye out for pesky fishing lines and crab pots! But it was also exciting - the excitement being that we were soon to cross the equator - and all five of us were ‘equator-crossing virgins!’
The first 24 hours were uneventful with good winds and the genoa poled out all day, but on the second night we were back in the ICTZ and thus the squall zone. We reduced sail at dusk to just a fully reefed main and sailed easily through the many squalls dumping heavy rain in the night. I was on the 3-6am shift and hence got the sunrise (yah!!) and what were now clear skies, so unfurled the genoa ready for the day.
As it turned out we had a fantastic days sailing, accompanied by dolphins a number of times, having a mini quiz with Aurora Polaris, some heavy rain showers, which meant we all got a good shower and scrub on deck, and three boys making music and singing with the ukulele - all being a good fun day! We found out that other WARC yachts had lost spinnakers and broken battens in the night so were super cautious and fully reefed again at dusk. It was a good idea as we were back to plenty of big wind squalls for the second night!
One more day of fun and squalls, - we even put the hammock out for a bit of fun with the boys. That night it started off well, but of course as soon as I got on shift it went from ‘starry starry nights’ to ‘thunder and lightning, very very frightening!’
Finally, it was the 11th March!! A day of anticipation as we watched our position on the Raymarine like hawks!
Despite the sea being a bit rougher than we would like, we were all determined to swim across the equator, so stopped the boat turning to make sure we crossed the actual line! We of course had to pay homage to the king of the deep so the boys sacrificed the last of their prized Tim Tams (a favourite fought after biscuit treat brought all the way from Australia), plus money from many nations to the man in the deep, while chanting a powerful appeasement they had concocted over the last few days. Of course they had to do this wearing my various pieces of swimwear, and then the moment came when we jumped overboard (in two groups for safety!).
I have swum across the equator!!