030310 to 031410 @Sea Equator Crossing
Trip Start Feb 11, 2010
28Trip End Apr 04, 2010
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030410 @Sea: This is the 8th day with no land in sight, heading northeast at 7 knots. The sea & sky seem basically the same each day
Trying to meet new people, I sat down to breakfast at a different table than usual. Soon, an elderly man came up to me and said that I was in his seat. I said that there was no assigned seating aboard ship. He said he always sits at this table. I invited him to sit across the table from me. The slight confrontation ended up in a very delightful exchange of stories as we shared “his” table. “Bud” is an old salt. He has sailed his entire life. He now lived in Ft. Myers, Florida with his wife Anne. Anne was not at breakfast because she had pain in her leg. Bud declined my offer to help take food to her. We parted and the day went by as usual until later.
I skyped Bill at the prearranged time, 19:00 EST from the Piano Bar. It was great to see and hear him again. And to my surprise, the whole Thursday Evening gang was there (our babies Butch & Roman, Bone & Tom, Rob & Phil, Terry & Angel, and Chard)
030510 @Sea: Half of our 18 “at sea” days behind us. A rather uneventful day until a rumor spread that one of the passengers had died this afternoon of a clot that started in the leg. At 17:30, Captain Brunon announced on the loud speaker for all passengers to come to the Sun Deck for an announcement. We all scrambled to the upper deck. The Captain announced that Bud's wife Anne had died an hour ago and asked for our thoughts and prayers for Bud and his family. Gail left in tears as memories of her father’s passing five years ago swamped her mind like a crashing wave on a shallow reef. She had met the couple on the 4X4 tour of Nuku Hiva. There was the most uncomfortable feeling as I gazed around at the stunned passengers on deck. I went to the Piano Bar and sat down with Joel from Tucson
Bud (now 81) had met Anne sailing in San Francisco Bay when he was 19 and she was 18. They were on small sailboats and started racing each other prior to actually meeting. She won not only the race but also his heart. They knew each other for 62 years and were married for 58. They have a son (54) and younger twin daughters. They have four grandchildren and soon a great grand child. Anne & Bud sailed their entire lives together. He retired at age 57 and never looked back. They have owned several sail boats and have sailed all over Europe, the Inter-coastal from Newfoundland to Florida, and to all of the Great Lakes. I asked if he heard of TC and he said of course he had and that it was a beautiful place for sailing. Tears were running uncontrollably down his cheeks as he spoke. He wanted/needed to speak his precious memories. He had a sparkle in his eyes as he spoke of Anne
030610 @Sea: I woke up at 4:20 AM, went to the bathroom and got a towel. Tissue paper would not do. I lied down with the hand towel soaking up my tears, as I knew Anne was with the sea. The ship was rolling back and forth, creaking and clanking, the sound of waves washing my porthole. As usual, the ship was listing hard to port and I placed a pillow under my side to steady me. I imagined Anne finally at peace in the vast Pacific, being slid into the sea just moments ago. She began her life with Bud on a bay in the North Pacific and ended her life with Bud by her side in the South Pacific. I never knew her but am honored to have known her mate Bud. Up on deck again, wind filled the sails, buffeting as we left the western horizon behind us.
030710 @Sea: Sailing into the sunrise. Many clouds and puffs of blue sky. The sun peaks through. The clocks have moved ahead one hour to Mountain Time. Now only two hours difference from EST and at the 1st Parallel South, we are very close to the equator. One week before we hopefully sight land after 18 days at sea. Cocos Island will be a welcomed sight. It is Sunday and there was a multi-denominational service held at 10:00 AM at the Tropical Bar. Somehow it seemed so appropriate. It would be our last farewell to Anne as a group of fellow sailors. Not knowing Anne, I am still amazed at how moving this was. I suddenly understood how Harold (from the movie Harold & Maude) could be sad at funerals he attended where he did not know the deceased. Lesson reminded: Funerals are for the living.
030810 @Sea: Close to the equator but oddly “cool” with low humidity. Who could have known? I sat out on the main deck in the shade of the main staysail and still got sun burnt. Rarely use sunscreen now…tired of slathering everyday. Always partly sunny, partly cloudy. Tuscon, AZ Joel gave an interesting and humorous talk in the dinning room about his life with hockey. Russian 3rd Officer Oleg (from the Black Sea off of Ukraine) asked me to bring my laptop to the bridge tonight for stargazing
030910 @Sea: 13th @sea day, only 6 more days (1,300 km) to Cocos. At 7:15 AM, 9.6 knots, GPS reading 00.37.135S, 107.09.296W, winds 20.8 to 23.5E knots, heading 87.7 degrees. Thick cloud cover but burning off with some blue sky after 9:00AM. My opinion… today is the day to put our bottles of champagne on ice! Equator day!! Will tie one on tonight! (Wrote too soon. At 9:45 AM, Captain Brunon announced on the PA system that official equator crossing would take place tomorrow 3/10/10, in the afternoon.) 11:00AM Crow’s Nest Climbing
031010 @Sea: Two weeks @sea with no land in sight! Today is official “Equator Crossing Day”. Took free bottle of champagne to Tropical Bar early morning. Danny put it on ice to chill. 9:45AM signed up as “virgin” for baptism by God Neptune during Crossing party. 1st time in 40 years I have been called a virgin. Not sure what it means to loose my virginity at the equator but am going to kick the can. Rumor has it I will be kissing a fish, floured & egged and tossed into the pool. Anticipations rising. 15:00: Captain announces official equator crossing. We are now in North Pacific. We bid a rather sad farewell to the South Pacific. All virgins congregate in Tropical Bar. We are tied together in long line of about 20 virgins with very thick rope and paraded through a very enthusiastic grouping of passengers on the Sun Deck
031110 @Sea: 5:55AM, 8.9 knots, 00.44.500N, 100.31.200W, winds 14.7-17.5NE, 70.6 heading, 26 degrees Celsius (79 F)
031210 @Sea: Time change one hour ahead to CST. Now only three blending days to land. Off the port side of the Tropical Bar appeared at least 10 small whales. Only whitecapped splashes and an occasional spout of water air betrayed their location. They disappeared as quickly to the stern, soon followed by two dolphins. We were getting closer to Cocos and it’s plethora of sea life. It rained hard, my porthole a Maytag. I imagined the life below the keel as we grew ever closer to the continent.
031310 @Sea: Attended Captain Brunon’s lecture on “Sailing Around the World”. In 1987 to 1988, he sailed around the world on a Polish, 3-masted, full rigged (square sails) training ship. Beautiful ship with 5 levels of yardarms. Told Captain later that I enjoyed his talk but decided NOT to sail around the world after hearing his tales and seeing pics & movies about the 100 foot waves. No thanks!
031410 @Sea: 18th day at sea since French Polynesia. Last day before Isla del Coco landing. Signed up for two days of hiking and snorkeling. Cannot wait! Bone & Tom fly out of TC in 3 days. Am sure they are excited. No internet for 10 days and not sure will have it again. Voyage going quickly.