Maunie leaves the northern hemisphere (see position,top left) with Stormvogel (grey triangle) not far behind
Our position as at 10.00 UTC, 1st May:
00 degrees 11 minutes SOUTH, 88 degrees 48 minutes west
We crossed the Line (as we seasoned explorers call it!) at ten minutes to midnight. We could not have possibly asked for better conditions; we had a steady Force 3, calm sea, a sky bursting with stars (the Milky Way very bright) and phosphorescence in the water creating a glowing wake behind Maunie as though she had some of those underwater bling lights lit. For those not familiar with said bling lights, I should explain: there are certain types of boat owners (usually motor yachts) who like to demonstrate their wealth and disregard for environmental impact by lighting their boats like Christmas trees, thereby demonstrating the power of their on-board generators. The latest toys are underwater spotlights which leave an anchored boat sitting on a cushion of glowing water – quite a striking view but utterly pointless and presumably confusing for the native sea life. Anyway, I digress; Maunie's illuminated wake was totally natural but no less eye-catching.
There are certain important rituals to be observed upon crossing the Equator for the first time. Chiefly amongst these is the offering to King Neptune. Dianne and Graham celebrated the moment with a bottle of sparkling Normandy Cidre (bought in Martinique) but we felt Neptune would expect something more exotic and fitting. A delve into Maunie's not very extensive drinks locker revealed the very thing – a bottle of Becherovka (a wonderful aromatic gin-like spirit) from that well-known seafaring nation, the Czech Republic (hello to Jiri, Nina, Mik and Adela in Prague). A liberal tot was poured into the sea and we felt that Neptune was happy. Thirty minutes after our crossing we were hailed on the VHF by Stormvogel who completed their own.
It was quite a special moment and we still can't believe that we are here!
However, import things lie ahead, like reaching port before nightfall. We had been making good progress but as we write the wind is fading away with 60 miles to go so it seams that we'll have to start the engine for the final leg/ Ah well, we've done pretty well (there are tales of some boats having to motor nearly all the way from Panama to here if they are unlucky with the ITCZ. We'll do a quick post when we arrive.