Just at the crack of dawn this morning (Thursday March 12), we crossed the equator for the fourth, and last, time on our circumnavigation. We were over 100 miles off the coast of Brazil and there were no other boats or ships in sight. Karen said she didn’t want to wake up for this event, and I can’t say that I blame her.
Even so, I found it a memorable event because I thought back to the other times we crossed the equator. The first time we were between Panama and the Galapagos, and we had two young crew aboard – Jason and Lara. It was the first time to cross the equator for all four of us. It is traditional to go through a ceremony to celebrate the transition from a shellback (a person inexperienced at sea) to a true sailor. The ceremony involved a visit from King Neptune who casts a foul slop over the head of each shellback. We had good fun going through the ceremony. And, since there was no wind on that occasion, we stopped the boat and swam across the equator – briefly jumping in the water and swimming from one hull to the other.
The second time across the equator was on our way through northern Indonesia on our way to Singapore. It was just a point on our chartplotter as we motored through dead calm winds common in that area of the Java Sea.
We spent a year and a half in southeast Asia – mostly in Malaysia – before we departed to go back through Indonesia to the Sunda Straight, far enough south to pick up the favorable winds to cross the Indian Ocean last year. We crossed the equator the third time motoring through almost the same spot as the second time in northern Indonesia.
And now, less than a year later we have done it one last time. One difference, compared to the other three times, is we have wind and are sailing fast. Other than that, it is just a place on the chartplotter where latitudes go from 0 South to 0 North. But, it means we are back in the northern hemisphere where we were born and spent all of our life before we made this journey. Where almost everyone we knew lived north of the equator. Now at least, we can say we have traveled a significant part of the southern hemisphere of our beautiful planet, and we have made friends and many memories there.