The Crossing – Week Three

Posted at Sea

We crossed the equator under sail a few minutes after midnight GMT on Thursday, April 27, 2017 (4 PM PDT Wednesday).

The week was characterized by some frustration at the lack of steady wind, especially since a current was doing its best to push us back north. Since we had run the center fuel tank dry unexpectedly the last time out, and had not determined the exact reason why yet, we were a little reluctant to run the engine for any length of time. Doing so would require switching to the center tank, and if we had a clog in the fuel line, we would run the risk of going through the whole Mazatlan-to-Banderas Bay exercise again. Since the center tank was refilled in La Cruz with almost the exact amount of fuel we thought we had used, it should not have been empty yet.

Finally, we spent a good part of last Monday disassembling things and determining that we could not suck any fuel (or air) from the center tank-the only reasonable explanation being that the fuel line to the tank was clogged. Once we got a bicycle pump (every boat needs one?) inserted into the end of the fuel line and gave a couple pumps, whatever was in there popped right out and is now floating around somewhere inside the tank. But, we were able to run the engine for 36 hours until the wind picked up some.

I woke up on Monday morning with the realization that we were a thousand miles from anywhere. This is an odd feeling. We check in on the Puddle Jump net every night, but otherwise have not seen or heard anything manmade for days; not even a contrail in the sky-except for a helicopter. Out of nowhere one evening, an unmarked helicopter came and circled us at close range a few times, once at a very low level, lingering around our stern, and then flew off. The whole thing was kind of creepy. One of the other Puddle Jump boats reported they also had a helicopter encounter, and assumed it was a spotter for a nearby factory trawler.

We are anxious to get to shore and walk on solid ground, but we still have several hundred miles to go.