Some of the most beautiful parts of sailing in the equatorial Pacific cannot be captured well on camera. On dawn and evening watch today I could see stars both above and below us. Above us the sky lights up with more stars than most of us students have ever seen. They shine bright enough to work by, even before moonrise. The big dipper rose a few days ago, to foreshadow our entry into the northern hemisphere. We cannot yet see the little dipper but can still see the Southern Cross in this sea between. The stars below us are all the bioluminescent creatures stirred up by the Seamans' passage through the water. They twinkle at the surface before sinking back down, an ephemeral world drifting past us. They are most visible in our wake, which makes it seem as though we are leaving a trail of tiny blue-green stars.
Today was our second Friday Field Day which means that this afternoon we cranked up music and scrubbed down our ship. Afterwards some of us took saltwater deck showers in the fire hose for an exhilarating way to get off the last of the grit. Ship and company breathed a sigh of relief from the fresh wash.
The much anticipated moment of the equatorial crossing should reach us in the wee hours of the morning. After Field Day our fishing line pulled us a rubber boot with a mysterious note from Neptune, the king of the sea, saying that those of us who have never crossed the equator via boat should take note and proceed with care. After dinner (hamburgers and mushrooms!) we placed our bets on precisely what time and at what longitude we should be crossing. As we near the boundary many of the ship's company we will be awoken to be on deck under the brilliant night sky for the event itself.
Clean and equator bound, we are ready for the next part of this adventure.
Sarah McNamara, B Watch, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
P.S. Happy Birthday Mom! You're super amazing and you've been on my mind all day. Thanks for helping me go on this incredible adventure. Sending big hugs to you, Fin, Dad, and Austin! I hope your birthday cake is as fabulous as these stars! Cannot wait to tell you all the stories!