Squalls and preparations

Phil May and Andrea Twigg
Tue 14 Feb 2012 05:43
00:51.5N 87:20.7W
We are closing in on the Galapagos, with just 170 miles to go now.  We had some reasonable winds today, interspersed with squalls that gave us 26 knots of wind for short periods.  Now the wind has died away and we are having to motor through the night.  To make matters worse, there is a surprisingly strong (2.5 knot) current from the south which means we are consuming a lot of diesel to make reasonable headway.
Preparations are under way for the line crossing ceremony when we hit the equator.  The is a tradition where crew members who have previously crossed the equator hold a court on behalf of king Neptune and induct newcomers to the ranks of "trusty shellbacks".  We do not have any shellbacks on Anastasia so it falls to me to be king Neptune's representative in the ceremony.  Andrea has some ideas for the trials that the crew must undertake in order to avoid the king's displeasure, and we have prepared certificates to present to the crew (assuming they survive her ordeals).
The squalls brought some welcome rain, to sluice the encrusted salt off Anastasia and for Bertie to do his rain dance.