25 May – E stands for…. Equator and C for chocolate muffins

Well, today’s been a strange old day! Early this morning I saw the first ship that I have seen in almost 3000 miles and also the first dolphins in almost as many miles.

I woke up with a start at around 03h00 as I realized that I had not switched on my radar alarm after using my HF radio the previous evening. If I don’t switch it off, it interferes with my radio reception. It also sounds every time I use my electronic stove igniter. Anyway, around five minutes later it started shouting at me and I was preparing to switch the alarm off but thought I should just take a look outside. There was nothing to be seen and I was ready to consign the alarm to the same place I’ve buried the AIS alarm that kept notifying me that I was close to myself.

Fortunately I checked my AIS and sure enough, 12 miles away (over the horizon from my deck height) there was a cruise ship heading directly towards me at 18.7 knots!
I could see them change course to give me a wide berth which was much appreciated otherwise I would have had to do some fancy footwork on the foredeck! I have made a big note attached to the waterproof cover for my radio to remind me to switch the radar alarm on when switching the radio off!

When dawn arrived, the horizon from NE to NW was dense black cloud and I had a 10 knot SW wind. I haven’t seen the sun today at all and from about 14h00 UTC, I was kept really busy with swirling and gusting squalls with rain. Welcome to the Northern hemisphere! I was so busy trying to keep us on a heading that vaguely made sense while simultaneously trying to optimize my rain catching awning and various buckets (quite unsuccessfully I might add) that I didn’t even see the line marking the equator or feel the bump as I went over it at around 15h00. Almost 25 days to the hour after I left Cape Town. Ok, 25 days, 3 and a half hours.

This is an occasion for some quiet reflection for me. It’s the first time I’ve crossed the equator in my own boat. The first time I’ve crossed it on my own and the first time in the Western Hemisphere. Hopefully there will be two more such crossings at least in the next 11 months?

And now it’s a little after 18h00 ship’s time (19h00 UTC, 21h00 SA time) and if there was any sun, I’d call it a sundowner, but instead, I’ll just call it a toast to Neptune, absent family and friends and to Olleanna. Thanks to Yvonne for sneaking the small bottle of J & B on board despite my protests!

That’s about it! I was going to write about the six chocolate muffins that I made and was so glad I did when I was freezing during the rain squalls and I made a quick coffee and inhaled two muffins to restore some bodily integrity! But I didn’t know how to work that into the story, nor would anyone particularly be interested I’m sure. But, damn, those muffins were good!

Cheers for now,

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