Monday, October 28, 2013

A Return to the Northern Hemisphere

I know I said that my next post would be about Tetautua village---and my next post about Penrhyn will be---but we are now underway for the Republic of Kiribati; specifically, for Kiritimati or Christmas Island.

Although it will be another seven to eleven months before we return to Seattle due to our decision to over-winter in Hawaii, in a sense, our journey home begins now. Our sojourn in the South Pacific, where we have spent the last year and a half, is drawing to a close. In just a couple more days, we will re-cross the Equator.

The signs that we are returning to the Northern Hemisphere are everywhere. The water is just a shade darker than the fathomless---sapphire, indigo, Easter egg dye---blue so characteristic of the South Pacific. Water temperatures are ever-so-slowly dropping. We saw our first large school of dolphin traveling alongside the boat since leaving Great Barrier Island in New Zealand. The school contained a tiny baby dolphin which repeatedly leapt out of the water. Soon, in the nutrient-rich, more productive waters of the North Pacific, we hope to catch more fish. We only spend half a twenty-four hour day bathed in sweat; evenings are deliciously cool.

The other night, staring at the horizon ahead of the boat, I realized I was looking at a constellation that hasn't been visible for most of our time in the Southern Hemisphere: Cassiopeia. Hello old friend. On the southern horizon, the Southern Cross has all but disappeared. Until we meet again.

So far, our passage has been slow, uneventful, and benign. We had northerlies the first few days out of Penrhyn, so we were still going to weather. (Christmas Island is almost due north of Penrhyn Atoll.) We reached the easterlies today, but the wind also lightened, so we still made slow progress. In fact, the wind has been very light this entire trip---seldom more than twelve knots. In these light winds, we've been able to sail under our full complement of sails---main, jib, and stays'l---through both the day and the night. We haven't experienced such a period of settled weather while sailing in a long time. We haven't been rained on. The wind hasn't suddenly and inexplicably built up to gusts of twenty-plus knots in the middle of the night. The most excitement we've had was the visit by the dolphins---and that's a good thing. Steady as she goes.
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Posted from sea via Ham Radio.

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