April 15

At about 5am the wind had died to about 7k and we where ghosting along at 3.5k in calm seas with two swells - from the NE and SE (the NE one still being somewhat larger). At about 7am the wind increased again to 10k and we were making 5.5 - 6k over ground. That lasted until about 9am when the wind died back to about 6k and we began to motor (batteries need charging anyway).

We are now about 150nm from the Equator and 955nm from Hiva Oa! Computer projections put our arrival at Hiva Oa in 6 days (beginning at noon today) - so we will probably arrive on Saturday the 21st. However, if the SE trades pick up as they are forecast to do on Monday and Tuesday we may be able to make considerably better time and an arrival on Friday 4/20 is not an unreasonable expectation.

At 10:15 local time we were hailed on the VHF by another sailboat, the Vallela out of Seattle! What a shock. Apparently they had heard us report our position this morning on the marine SSB radio net (they have a short-wave receiver but no transmitter aboard) and noted our position as being very close to their own. Sure enough, we were 10 miles apart.

We motored until noon when we stopped to visit with our new friends Wendy and Garth. We traded books and gave them some ice cubes and cold Cokes (their boat is not very large and they have no freezer and no room for soda in their reefer). We shut the motor down to prove we could sail with them in light air and hoisted our cruising spinnaker (as they had theirs flying) and we were making about 3.5-4k in 6-8k wind on a heading of about 170M - we wanted to go 210M. At about 3pn we decided we were ready to move on and started motoring again.

It is now 5pm local time (we are now on UT -8 or Pacific/California time -1 hour) and we are motoring at 1600rpms on a heading of 208M making about 6.3k over ground. The wind remains light at about 5k from the East and the skies are partly cloudy and the sun is hot hot hot hot.

We are slowly approaching the Equator - we are now at 1 degree 47 minutes N which translates to 107nm due North of the Equator. Since we are not on a due South heading, the distance we will travel to the Equator will be slightly longer (app. 143nm on a heading of 210M). Tomorrow will certainly be the day we cross the line for the first time!

At 10pm local time we are sailing in light wind of 7-8k from the East, We have been sailing since 7pm when we shut down the engine. Since then the wind has risen to 12k for a while and then fell again to 7k.