Day 16: shellbacks!

*** Totem has made landfall, but didn't get our daily blog updates posted after our radio stopped working. here is the first of our last few written-but-not-posted updates from sea. ***

Current position: 01*11' S, 130*16' W
24 hour run: 150 nautical miles

At approximately 3:30 a.m. on April 17, Totem sailed across the equator and into the southern hemisphere. There was no glowing yellow line in the water…no hot dog stand, no Wall Drug style billboards…but it was a moment I'll never forget. After nights of shifting clouds in the ITCZ, we had clear skies and spectacular stars. Pointing just right of the Southern Cross (cue the Crosby Stills & Nash!), we were on a comfortable reach, making over 6 knots in about 12 knots of breeze.

We let the girls sleep, but Niall was very excited to be in the cockpit for the big moment! Since our watch change is scheduled for 3, Jamie and I were both up anyway and we got Ty up to join us. He's a veteran of arctic circle and date line crossings was looking forward to crossing this circle; now, he just has to plan a trip to Antarctica to get the full complement of rings.

At a more civilized hour, we celebrated with a big breakfast of waffles with strawberry compote and whipped cream. Decadent! Soon after, Neptune himself made a visit to Totem. He questioned our pollywog crew, then accepted us all as shellbacks. Siobhan was completely taken in by the spectre of Neptune and buried her head in my shoulder!

Ceilydh gave us a bag to open ONLY at the equator, as Maia's note emphasized. The kids had been jonesing to open it all week! Inside were treats for everyone: serrano ham (oh, joy!), a wee bottle of anejo tequila (mmmmm…how much does Neptune need?), sweet treats for the kids, a bag of buttery cookies. Best of all was a home-made coloring book based on pictures of the good times the girls had together in La Cruz. What a great stack of memories!

Although we're not quite in the southeast trades, the sailing is now spectacular. In the evening, we had dinner together in the cockpit. Jamie pointed out that this was the sailing that armchair sailors in northern winters dream about! We were on a flat, comfortable reach, moving along at 6+ knots…watching the sun set over the equatorial Pacific…enjoying a warm breeze and a delicious dinner. It really was pretty near perfect! We had Jamie's favorite meal, a farmer's plate of finger food: in addition to our treats from Ceilydh, there were green olives stuffed with blue cheese, baby corn, dried chorizo slices, sliced cheese and tomatoes, hearts of palm, and to spread on crackers- cream cheese with papaya chutney and a pate of smoked salmon. We felt utterly decadent!

The only blemish on an otherwise lovely day: our SSB radio stopped transmitting in the morning, before we had checked into the net. It's very discouraging, and the troubleshooting continues.

Posted via radio: we have no internet access

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