From there to here in 14 months:
Dianne uses our laser-guided, satellite GPS navigation device to show the route
Hello from 28 degrees 15 minutes south, 178 degrees 26 minutes EAST
As you'll see from our position, we passed another significant milestone this morning as we crossed the 180 degree line of longitude and passed from west to east. We are now, officially, at the other side of the world from home. It was unexpected but lovely that the Royal New Zealand Air Force should recognise this historic moment with a fly-past but this afternoon a huge four-engined reconnaissance Orion flew over us at about 100 feet and called us on the VHF to check our identity and to confirm our intended arrival port and ETA. For the arrangements of the official welcome reception and brass band, presumably.
We lost the wind yesterday evening at about 8.00pm after a nice 4-hour spinnaker run and have been motoring, on and off, since. The forecast still looks as though we have a day of light winds ahead but may get something more on Friday. The wind comes and goes, though, and as I write we have a lovely force 4 so are sailing well on a close reach. Stormvogel are a mile behind us, making good speed with only their foresails, and confirm that the rig seems fine, though it makes a few slightly alarming noises if the boat rolls when just under engine.
We are really noticing huge and quick changes to our environment as we head south. In contrast to our arrival in the tropics, where we were heading mostly west with a little bit of south so changes were slow, our relatively fast exit southwards now means that we are noticing changes every day. For a start, we have about 3 hours more daylight than we had; having become accustomed to darkness falling with a bang at about 6.00pm and daylight only returning at 6.30am, it great so have long evenings and earlier light. It only got dark at about 8.30pm this evening and first light is now well before 6.00am. The other main change is the temperature, of both air and sea. The water from the watermaker (which takes in sea water) is now cool rather than tepid and it's now possible to drink a glass of water from the main tank without having to chill it in a bottle. Equally, the fridge, which cools its refrigerant in a hull-mounted heat-exchanger, is now trying to turn itself into a freezer so we have had to adjust its settings. On deck, it feels chilly enough to need long trousers and fleeces at night but it does mean that temperatures are a lot more comfortable below. Sorry, I know the first frosts have probably arrived in the UK so you probably don't want to know that we still haven't used the duvet on our bunk.
So, another 4 days to go, or thereabouts, so we look forward to more changes and the shock of seeing shipping as we approach NZ. The seas around here have been empty of other vessels (apart from fellow yachtsmen) so we'll have to start scanning the horizon for lights again.