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Date: 13 Mar 2014 22:19:00
Title: Crossing the equator - three times!

00:02.8S 87:18.4W

We crossed the equator! It took ages... we had a decent run over night and we were all set to cross an hour or two into the morning, but the wind dropped and a current started to run North against us so we inched our way down to 00 degrees North. Finally at, 12:15 local time, we crossed the line and opened the Champagne to toast Neptune. He visited, of course, but refused to have his photo taken, although he kindly took one of us, which we'll put on here when we get internet.

As we were going so slowly we decided to celebrate with a mid-ocean swim so we hove to and dove in, whilst the boat gently drifted with the current. It was gorgeous: as warm yet refreshing, as silky and clear as it had looked all these days from deck.

Once in we were rather worried by the grass skirt and goose barnacles that Lochmarin had gathered whilst on passage. The anti-foul we applied in Trinidad has stopped working completely (these warm tropical waters are no match for it) and Galapagos has been turning away boats with growth on their bottom. So we made hay whilst the sun shone and scrubbed the water line and what we could reach with a snorkel. Hopefully she's clean enough not to disturb the delicate ecology of the Galapagos now, although I emerged from our dip looking like I'd just left Titan's embrace: covered in little bits of weed and with long green tendrils in my hair.

When we were done we were disconcerted to discover that we'd drifted back North over the equator again and it was another hour before we managed to get back down across it, eventually turning on the engine as there was still no wind and the current continued to set us North. We wouldn't have minded if we'd had more Champagne to crack open for each time we crossed...

We've been accompanied by sea birds again, delicate little Wilson's Storm Petrels dance around us and a group of Andean gulls, with their black hood and dark M shape on their backs over bright white, kept us company for a day and a half, still circling us in the moon light. They worried me though, as they paid much too much attention to our lure, I would hate for one to be caught in the line. The dolphins have come again, always delightful, but the only other signs of life have been three boats: two huge fishing boats and a cargo ship. None of them had AIS and the cargo ship didn't have lights showing after dark. The fishing boats were the kind that drag massive nets behind them and catch dolphin along with the tuna they are after. Thankfully they weren't fishing: one was busy towing the other.

So, another milestone, another step along the way...

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