Posted by: powellpjc | September 27, 2009

Crossing the line. The Big Line.

Doesn’t seem right. In Mexican waters the sea temperature was 29C and clear as a bell.
Now I am looking at 12C and a lot of shit floating around. Not that kind, garbage kind.
Left Costa Rica early on a Sunday morning with ebb tide. It was wonderful.

Last rocky coast of Costa Rica, southbound.

Last rocky coast of Costa Rica, southbound.

I ripped down the Golfo Nicoya at 7 knots which, for me, was ripping. Had 2 nice days of passage making after that and then conditions turned. Wind on the nose. Overcast. Water temp down. Marine layer, difficult visibility–just what you’d expect when you get mixing waters. The Humboldt Current was making its presence known.
I did no fishing this passage as I bought enough grub to last me to Elephant Island. Don’t know why.
I did eat fish, though. A dandy flying fish and a big one too.

He's already dead and I didn't kill him. Head-Smashed-In-Fish Jump.

He's already dead and I didn't kill him. Head-Smashed-In-Fish Jump.

 
I think if the Lake Superior smelt has dreams, they are dreams of flight. Dreams of the legendary flying fish. He especially would like to emulate the much feared ‘Leopard-winged Fighter’ as shown here.

Leopoard I Attack Fish.

Leopoard I Attack Fish.

 The fighter was ultra-tasty with breaded batter, lemon, large sliced/fried tomato and some spuds. This was breakfast. The LeopardWingFighter was courageous but dumb. Dumb to hit my boat and dumber not to get away. Such is the nature of the Assault Flying Fish. A poor flyer and an even worse judge of landing strips.
Saw the coast of Ecuador two nights out but was ascared (Powellism) of the rocks so set a course for Indonesia both nights and let the wind take me clear of the hazards.

Some boobies are prettier than others. You can see how his wings can fold back when he dives for his fishes.

Some boobies are prettier than others. You can see how his wings can fold back when he dives for his fishes.

 

Then I crossed the line. 00° 00‘. Been across before, once, in a sailboat. 1978. This time it was at 1 p.m., autumnal equinox. Now that’s downright auspicious.

Ships passing in the almost night.

Ships passing in the almost night.

 

Last day out I hauled in hard and went for Manta Bay, Ecuador. The wind picked up mile by mile until I was on a beam reach under double-reefed main only and doing 7 kts. I’m happy with that.

A fairly casual fisherman, barely afloat in Puntarenas, Costa Rica.

A fairly casual fisherman, barely afloat in Puntarenas, Costa Rica.

 

Getting into the harbour was a different deal.
Manta is the ‘Tuna Capital of the World’, according to large statues and even larger tuna boats.
I had trouble with their nets on the way in. They use poles with black flags attached but I didn’t know the code. The flags go on for kilometres. Double black and single black flags, sometimes with plastic jugs strung between.
I got tired of running parallel to one long set and decided to cross at a 90 degree angle. I was motorsailing so I shut down the motor and coasted across under sail, watching the water closely. Sure enough, a blue line appeared, about 5 feet below the surface and my keel snagged it. Shit and shinola. But it slid clean past the propeller and rudder so no damage done to net or propshaft. I rigged a long pole with my best butcher knife (serrated edge, plastic handle, foot long, 2 hose clamps holding it on) just in case I did snag one next time.
I asked the boys here what the flags mean. Two black flags on one pole mean start or end of net. One flag means middle of set. The nets can be 3 metres down or 40 and run in any direction.

A car carrier. One of the world's ugliest designs. I'd be kind of embarrased to drive this baby.

A car carrier. One of the world's ugliest designs. I'd be kind of embarrased to drive this baby.

 

The tuna boats here have cupolas high above the deck (crowsnests) as well as fixed wing planes as observers. Some have helicopter pads on the rear deck. These boys are serious about their tuna.
I am stuck on a mooring ball about 100 metres from the yacht club and its WIFI. I hail a ’panga’ or runabout when I want to go ashore. $1.00. Here in Ecuador they use the US dollar at par although prices are lower than in US.

Healthy and happy, crossing the line.

Healthy and happy, crossing the line.

 

It’s going to be tough from here on in to Chile. The current will be strong and unfavorable and that goes for the wind too.
I do have a mate joining me, Jussi Leskinen, a paragliding pal from Iquique so that will help a lot. Unless he drinks all my gin.

Out in the middle of nowhere, man works, lives and wonders where the fish are.

Out in the middle of nowhere, man works, lives and wonders where the fish are.

“There are three types of people: those who worry themselves to death; those who work themselves to death and those who bore themselves to death.”
                                                            Winston Churchill

Stay out of those categories. You could be like me and frighten yourself to death.

Somewhere south of the Line. How can life be bad? I mean, really.

Somewhere south of the Line. How can life be bad? I mean, really.

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Responses

  1. This Landlubber is hooked.Great Stories.

    Jimmy.

  2. Peter,

    This landlubber is hooked.The information and stories are great.

    Jimmy.


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