Passage to Ecuador – Part 4

34 miles to go…

We’re almost there! I know we must sound nuts after my last couple of posts. We do the best we can to plan given all of the weather information we can acquire, but the ocean can still be a formidable opponent that does not bend to the will of men in sailboats!

I woke up yesterday morning just before dawn to the sound of our engine starting. My watch started at 6am, so it must have been around 5:30. After finally rousing myself from what must have been a dead sleep, I came out in the cockpit to find the ocean transformed. Gone were the towering swells, and the wind had stopped howling. Had Mike not started the engine, we would probably have been bobbing around in the calm for quite some time.

We had purposely reserved enough fuel so that we had almost 2 full days we could motor if need be. If we could maintain a speed between 5-6 kts, we could make it into port Saturday afternoon before sunset.

As morning turned into afternoon we realized we were finally approaching the equator. Crossing the equator in a boat is a rite of passage among sailors. You go from pollywog to shellback. I’d say we are earned our shellback status on this passage.

Many of our friends who have made the equator crossing have done elaborate rituals, dressed in costumes, made up a song or dance, and given their tribute to Neptune. After the last week at sea, I can’t say that we really had the energy to be that creative. But, we did want to take note of this special and unique experience. You only cross the equator for the first time once in your life. So, we wrapped some bandanas around our heads, pulled out the favorite rum, gave a tribute to Neptune and celebrated our new shellback status.

We motor sailed through the night taking advantage of what light winds there were the get some lift and improve our speed. As we began to get closer to the coast, we’ve had to watch out for local fishing traffic. This morning a panga approached us as I was on watch. They wanted something to drink and cigarettes. We gave them juice, but they were a little disappointed that we don’t smoke. They had probably been on the water all night. Four hardy and rough looking guys in a little panga. These guys seriously work had to make out a living fishing.

We’re excited to arrive at our new destination, and I will be very happy to get the boat cleaned up. Every set of sheets and towels and most of our clothes need to be washed. Anything that got salt on it needs to be washed. And then, we are going to start making arrangements to pull the boat out of the water to do the serious work. Another chapter will have begun in our adventure…


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