Monday, September 14, 2009

goodbye southern hemisphere

We crossed the equator for our fourth and final time today. Some things never change here. The heat and humidity sit upon us like heavy wet hot towels, not the welcomed kind you might get in a nice Japanese restaurant but the kind you get when you are sick and have sweat through your cold washcloth. At the equator, the heat is strange, it just kind of stays with you. We sweat all day. A strange kind of sweat in that beads of sweat do not form on our upper lips and foreheads but the kind that just is always there like a slick, a sweaty, sticky, damp slick that forms a thick layer on our skin. Only after the sun slinks below the horizon leaving us in darkness for another twelve hours do we feel a little bit of relief. After we go through the ritual of showering and scrubbing ourselves with soap we feel momentarily fresh and clean, until the wind dries the water left on our skin and our fans can work no harder to cool us. We begin the process again, sweating through our sheets to greet yet another grey morning.

The sun has been predictably veiled by haze for the last 500 miles stretching 100 miles S from Borneo and supposedly reaching as far as Singapore. It is caused by the burning of forest to clear for palm oil plantations, gardens. or peat moss bogs that burn for months. Thankfully we have only smelled the ash on two occasions but it does not bode well for the animals in the forest or the people who live around them. Perhaps it is thanks to the wind that the ash hasn't settled thickly on our boat or in our lungs.

We have been lucky this crossing of the equator. With consistent SE winds at 8-22 knots the miles have passed quickly under our hull. We think the wind also has kept the lightning storms away. Thankfully, we have had only one night with a few flashes that were very far away. This will soon change, as we are less than a hundred miles from Singapore, notorious for its lightning storms.

Cruising is always fluid and our plans have changed again for Singapore. Since the yard manager kindly informed us it has been raining everyday for the last two weeks we opted to skip doing our inspection and haul out there. Instead we will make it to Phuket, Thailand before the end of October to get our survey done and complete our yard work. Now our time in Singapore is flexible and open to anything. We will stay at One Degree Fifteen Marina until our life raft is repacked or until we're ready to move on.

So it is with great thanks that we say goodbye to the southern hemisphere, where we have visited some of the most stunning islands in the world, made friends who have permanently made it into our hearts, and learned some of the many faces of the ocean that have given us the skills and confidence to sail on. Land Ho.


No comments: