Atlantic crossing: equator and good luck

Day 10, 9th of November 2011

And then I’ve started to count: days, miles, knots. Feel tired, even tho I have enough sleep. But the more I have, the more I want. Wish just to wake up in the morning and stay in bed, knowing that there’s no need to hurry anywhere, till moment, when it will be already too boring to stay…

So… it’s 7:05 in the morning, 9th of November, and we have 764 nautical miles in front of us (in case: 1 nm = 1852 m). That means that with average speed of 5 knots (in case: 1 kn = 1nm/h) – 120 miles a day – around 6,5 days till arrival.

It will be Wednesday or Tursday the next week, 17th or 16th of November. My 4-months’ sailing anniversary.

And 5 months out of Russia. They are felt like 5 years.

Around 7:30 am today we crossed the equator! It was my watch but I noticed nothing: no signs, no poster “Welcome to the southern hemisphere!” Kidding : )

First ocean, first equator =)

We’re too relaxed here to celebrate somehow my first equator. It’s Crisa’s forth: he crossed it before on way from Brazil to Carribean, then – south to Galapagos, then – north from Australia to Indonisia.

Now we have constant trade wind from the south-east. Average speed of “Vagabond” grew up to 6-7 knots. We use engine only to charge batteries.

Nights are not that bad. Maybe, even better  – for movie geaks like me. The only disadvantage is humidity. Dumb, sticky and salty pillows, deck, doghouse. When weather station shows 89 percents inside the boat, I realise – there’re just 10 percents that separate us from water.

Day 11, 10th of November 2011

I start to understand and share passion of bird watchers.

Birds are only alive souls here (except dolphins, butterfly and flyfishs) we see for many days. Yes, two days ago we spotted a red cargo ship far behind us – it crossed to the east. But that was far away.

This night we had two passengers. First we noticed them, clumsily trying to land on a yacht, against fresh wind:
– They might be exhausted, – dropped Chris.

At the beginning of my night watch I’ve found them, sitting on a tent, wind fiercely fuzzing their feathers. In the darkness they were not more than two shadows. They stayed till morning, and after sunrise I got chance to have a more thorough glance on our guests.

Their dark feathers were amazingly contrasted by white foreheads – as if someone has gently touched them with a brush of bleach.Their beaks impressed – long, straight and very strong. Surprisingly, their feet portraited that these were not birds of prey but swimming species. And I envy their perfect sense of balance: without sharp claws that they could thrust into cloth of a tent they stayed on a boat comfortably, madly swinging on waves.

With the first sun beams they, as if negotiated, set off and landed on water. Time for breakfast 🙂

In the morning I saw a big bird over the ocean. He was hunting: proudly hovering in stream of wind, thoroughly looking around. Then suddenly spinned down in one precise speedy drop, like an air jet. Few minutes of enjoying pray and – up in air again.

Wandering Albatross. Photo is taken from

That was albatross – sailors’ legendary bird. Two words I find to describe his flight in harmony with wind: noble and graceful. Remember Charles Baudelaire’s poem…

At times, the mariners, afar from hankered ports,

Catch for a senseless fun, impaling ocean roads,

A dainty albatross, a leaden-footed bird,

That follows alongside the quest-aspired boats. 

And when he’s on the deck, tied there to flagschtoks,

The Master of the skies, now graceless, in despair,

Tries, not succeeding once, his gentlemanly walk,

And paltry are the bulky wings he wears.

 Why is he so gauche, that wanderer of skies!

That comely bird is but a lamentable joke!

Hey, touch his funny beak with your worn-out pipe,

And, stepping over, do the crippled flier mock. 

A poet is like him — the lord of curvy airs:

Not fearing poisonous darts, the tempest his sole bride,

In the exile on earth, through laugh and shame he bears,

And bulky wings impair his formidable stride.

At times of James Cook sailors used to hunt these huge birds, the superstition didn’t exist yet. Later sailors started to believe that killing of albatross brings bad luck on ship and the whole crew.

Trade winds sing songs of freedom and almost make us fly: 8 knots in average instead of usual five. Winds bring some rain but it’s joyful pour that gave birth to a rainbow on the north.

I try to recall phrases of my childhood that helped me to remember colour order – each colour starts with the first letter of the word in a phrase. This one I still use:

Каждый охотник желает знать, где сидит фазан

Every hunter wants to know where sits pheasant.

I liked the other one too, tho it was always harder to remember it (in English translation I a bit rephrase it):

Как однажды Жак-звонарь голубой сломал фонарь

As once Jack – bell-ringer broke blue lantern.

Red. Orange. Yellow. Green. Blue. Dark blue. Violet.

One thought on “Atlantic crossing: equator and good luck”

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    me. Thnk you, very nnice article.


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