We had a special moment for everyone yesterday, when Nasdaq crossed the equator at 30 13.6W, just as the sun was setting in a cloudless sky. The Nasdaq crew were highly impressed at the skipper's sense of timing - of course I had been studying the weather forecasts carefully and planning this apparent coincidence for the last 4,500 nautical miles.
Our helmswoman Clare Lavin did a truly grand job of
steering the ship carefully through one of the gaps in the red dotted line that
is 0 degrees latitude and then we celebrated in the traditional fashion -
toasting King Neptune and offering him a drink in the hope he would grant us
fair winds and a safe passage through his realm. Neptune must have been
satisfied with our offering, since he hurled a whole school (or should that be
flock?) of flying fish directly at the Skipper in the clean shirt he had worn
for the occasion. (For any of you landlubbers who are unacquainted with flying
fish, they are covered with an extremely fishy-smelling slime, which doesn't
come out of fabric).
The Nasdaq crew found this hilarious. Maybe I'll have the chance to discuss it with King Neptune in person when we invite him onboard later today.
So, we'll just have to get used to everything being the wrong way around for the next four months or so, until Leg 5 when we re-cross the line back into the Northern Hemisphere. Luckily, we have a native guide to help us through this upside-down part of the world - Damien "kanga-boy" Egan of Darwin.
So far, the Southern Hemisphere has been good to Nasdaq - enough wind to put in reef 1 overnight, but speeding us south and west across a sea that is slowly building.