Sunday, October 16, 2011

Crossing the equator - the second time

We're sitting out here on day 4 powered once again by our liquid wind (aka engine). We're back in the ITCZ with less than 3 knots of wind. We were doing good for a while, running about 5 knots. But it's very inconsistent. The sad thing is, we're passing up atoll after atoll. All due to bureaucracy that neither of us understands. As I said previously, in Tuvalu, they wouldn't let us stop at any of their outer atolls. Well, in the Gilbert group of Kirabati, you can't stop at any atolls without checking into Tarawa first, which is almost at the top of the chain. So we're passing them all by. We've heard of people stopping before but we've also heard of stories of captains spending time in the Tarawa jail. At the very least, passports get taken for a few weeks while captain and crew sweat it out.

But that's giving us plenty of time to fish, bake, and read. In the fishing department, we finally caught a fish, albeit one we couldn't eat. Andy put our lines out before sun up one morning and after a little squall, I looked back and we were carrying some sort of drowned deep sea, barracuda-like fish. The thing had huge eyes and was long and skinny. Kind of creepy looking. Andy attempted to filet it, but it didn't have enough meat for an appetizer so unfortunately, it was wasted.

I bought a new cookbook when I was home on baking bread and have been trying out a lot of the recipes. I have finally cooked a very yummy sandwich bread according to my "wonder bread" experts. For two mornings we have had sweet, gooey cinnamon rolls. And yesterday, we were treated to some delicious cheesy bread, if I do say so myself.

As far as reading goes, I've finished 5 books since we left Samoa and Andy has finished 1 (one more than usual, not his normal hobby). But we've both been reading up on Tarawa and it's actually pretty interesting considering some think it's on the edge of the world. It has a lot of WWII history (as does Tuvalu, but I forgot to tell you all about that), with the Battle at Tarawa where the Japanese were defeated by the US Marines being one of the bloodiest battles in history. Evidently, a lot of the remains are still visible on the island and we'll be able to have quite the history lesson with Jake. They have maneabas, or traditional meeting houses, throughout the islands. The best that I can tell, these are much like the Fales we saw in Samoa where all the major business is conducted by the local men in charge. South Tarawa, where we'll be checking in, is home to over 1/3 of the Kirabati's population. Our Lonely Planet guide was updated about 10 years ago and the population was 86,800 people over 811 sq km. That's a lot of people in a really small space. There's lots more interesting facts, but since I've never been very good putting things into my own words (my industry actually encourages plagiarism), I'll let the interested do their own research.

We're getting closer, about 230 miles out now. Hopefully we'll be there in the next two days, with tomorrow being our second equator crossing! Since we haven't been paying much attention along the way, we're going to have an International Dateline, Prime Meridian, Equator crossing celebration complete with cake and champagne and maybe a small gift for the little guy.

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