At midnight on our 17th day at sea, two momentous things happened:
First, we jibed the boat! That’s right, we went 2150 nautical miles without ever changing the direction of the sails.
It’s the world’s longest port tack (wind coming over our port side)! Earlier in the evening, the wind began shifting towards northerly (from NE), and finally a small rainshower went by and we could only maintain a heading to SE — that’s going to Easter Island. No time for that! So the headsail came to a starboard tack for the first time in 17 days, as the clock struck midnight.
The trade winds were officially over. In fact, within three hours, we began motoring in the calm of the ‘doldrums’, with hazy clouds masking the stars; in contrast with the trades, where crystal clear nights were framed by big puffy clouds.
By 5am there was sheet lightning in the distance and miserable gray skies, reminding us of the ITCZ. We had just crossed the entire trade wind belt, and popped out the other side. What’s on this side, you ask? Further south of us are the westerlies, and we’ve been watching a stream of strong high and low pressure march along towards the west. Fortunately, the “meat” or the systems is way to the south (the infamous Roaring Forties) but we will now be subject to some of their renegade offshoots.
This is the latitude of Easter Island, Pitcairn, and Gambier — all straddling a no man’s land between the trades (which actually fill in this far south during their summertime) and the westerlies (which get much closer during their wintertime, along with stormy, cooler weather).
A second event occurred at midnight. We passed the longitude of Santa Barbara, California, our home port (119 degrees West). Somehow we felt connected to home, by visualizing it exactly to our north (by ahem… more than three thousand miles). Interestingly, if you flipped our latitude (23 S) you’d end up in Cabo San Lucas (23 N). It’s amazing to think of the huge loop we had to take to get here – down Central America to Galapagos then to where we are.
For our last day in the trade winds, Sabby made two masterpiece food items. One was a Quiche with a potato crust, cooked on stovetop (recall our oven got busted three days before we left Galapagos). This truly is a wonderful dish for breakfast, lunch, or dinner!
And to top it off: she made raspberry vanilla ice cream! it was absolutely decadent, and what a treat at this point in the journey. Frozen yogurt, cream, with vanilla and dehydrated raspberries. Don’t ask me how it’s possible. We try not to question the little miracles coming out of the galley…